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Maternity Services in Crisis

Maternity units are ‘teetering on the brink’ under the relentless pressure of rising birth rates, warns Cathy Warwick General Secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, who announced her concerns to the media this week.

Over the past decade, the birthrate in the UK has increased by 19 per cent and is at its highest for over 26 years – yet the number of midwives available to care for mothers has increased by just 12 per cent, she explained. This renders the service at least 3,500 short of the number of midwives required to provide safe and high-quality care.

Mrs Warwick explained that the historically high birth rate, increasing complexity of pregnancies and births and staff shortages meant that the safety of mothers and babies was too often being compromised and lives were being put at risk.

Last year it emerged that women were being forced to travel up to 99 miles in order to give birth after being turned away by overstretched maternity units.  Midwives have also spoken out against unsafe practices including the lack of supervision provided to mothers receiving epidurals.

A recent survey reported that almost a quarter of mothers were left alone and frightened during labour because midwives do not have the time to provide one-to-one care.

The solicitors of Lanyon Bowdler’s clinical negligence department have considerable experience in working with individuals and families facing the aftermath of all types of medical and clinical accidents. In particular our team has expertise in birth injury, cerebral palsy, obstetrics and maternal injury claims.

Mothers and their families concerned about the standard of care provided to them are encouraged to contact the Clinical Negligence Department on 0800 9549936 for further assistance and advice.