Shortage of Midwives Poses Risk to Patient Safety

Posted By admin - 19th October 2015

The Royal College of Midwives have warned that due to a decrease in the number of midwives, mistakes will ‘almost certainly be made’.  The Royal College of Midwives says there is a national shortage of 2,600 full-time midwives. This can and will have disastrous consequences for mothers and their new born babies.  A survey by the Royal College of Midwives has found that there have been an increased number of units closing down, with 42% of units having closed temporarily in the last year.

At the same time, the demands being placed on midwives is increasing.  Dr Clare McKenzie, Vice-President for Education at the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, has highlighted that there are an increasing number of complicated pregnancies due to rising levels of obesity, an increase in multiple pregnancies and the fact the average age of first time mothers is increasing.

Cathy Warwick, Chief Executive of the Royal College of Midwives states that “all of this shows a system that is creaking at the seams and a system that is only able to deliver high quality care through the efforts and dedication of its staff.  When services are operating at or beyond their capacity, safety is compromised and mistakes can, and almost certainly will be made, through no fault of the dedicated staff delivering the service.”

The government say they are determined to ensure that ‘every mother and baby gets the highest quality care’ but with worrying shortages of midwives, it is hard to see how they can achieve this commitment.  Understaffing in midwifery will inevitably have tragic consequences.  Moosa-Duke Solicitors are a specialist clinical negligence firm.  We have undertaken many cases where mistakes during pregnancy and delivery have led to serious injury and death.  Worryingly, we have had many cases where understaffing has directly impacted on the care provided and this includes cases involving midwifery care.  If you feel that you have suffered negligence during your medical care, please contact us on 0116 254 7456.