By Harriet Ernstsons Friday 15 March 2013 Updated: 18/03 13:13
AN UNEXPECTED spike in births has left maternity services across the county stretched.
Currently there is one midwife for every 33 births in Worcestershire, compared to the standard set by the Strategic Health Authority NHS Midlands and East of one for every 30 births. The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) recommends one midwife for every 28 births.
Bosses at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals NHS Trust blame the ratio increase on a rise in births, with 200 more babies expected to be born compared to the total of 6,228 delivered in 2011/12.
At the beginning of 2010/11, the Trust met the RCM standards, ending that year with the equivalent of 215 full time midwives. By the start of 2011/12, the ratio was one to 30, falling to one to 31 by April 2012 when there were 213 midwives working within the Trust.
Members of Redditch and Bromsgrove’s Clinical Commissioning Group, who will be in charge of buying in health services from next month, have written to the Trust calling on them to look at the issue.
Jo Galloway, the CCG’s executive nurse for quality and patient safety, said all three CCGs in the county were committed to only commissioning safe, high quality maternity care for their patients.
“We recognise that we should be looking to increase the number of midwives at both the Worcestershire Royal Hospital and the Alexandra Hospital and we are working with the Trust to achieve this,” she said.
Gill Adgie, RCM’s northern regional manager, said the college would be working with the head of midwifery and supporting her in trying to get the midwife to birth ratio down.
“In areas of greater need such as the labour wards, midwives will be pulled from other areas to ensure women are getting one to one care,” she said.
“It is a concern the ratio has slipped but we feel confident, and confident for the women of Worcestershire, the head of midwifery will be doing all she can to get that back to where she wants it to be.”
Patti Paine, head of midwifery at the Trust, said: “Despite predictions the birthrate in Worcestershire would fall until 2016, the opposite appears to be happening.
“Our staffing levels are based on the previous year’s birthrate as the best information we have available to us.
“The issue within the Trust is not funding or recruitment, the issue is there is now a need to review our staffing numbers due to the higher number of births than expected.
“The Trust benchmarks its staffing ratios where possible with other maternity units and understands it compares favourably. We are currently in discussions with commissioners about increasing the overall number of midwives in the county.”
THE PRISONER captured in Cyprus after 14 months
AN ELDERLY woman was kicked in the stomach
AN INQUEST has been opened following the death
A CAFÉ aiming to become a social hub
A BROMSGROVE Standard delivery girl from Rubery has fought off ...
PEOPLE of all ages can 'Make Do and Mend' this ...
BUSINESS leaders believe the arrival of Stratford Parkway train station ...