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Midwives

Volume 405: debated on Wednesday 21 May 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will list maternity units in England, indicating (a) the number of whole-time equivalent midwives needed to meet the Birthrate Plus standard, (b) the number of WTE midwife posts funded in 2002–03 and (c) the number of WTE midwives in post in 2002–03. [113133]

[holding answer 19 May 2003]: The maternity records collected through the hospital episodes statistics (HES) system are only identified to a trust level, rather than to any specific unit within the trust. The information requested on maternity units is therefore not available.Birthrate Plus is a tool for assessing work force requirements in maternity units. Work done for the maternity and neonatal work force group, using Birthrate Plus data for a range of different type of maternity unit, suggests that, by 2005, the projected future supply of trained midwives at least meets future demand.Information on the number of midwifery posts by unit is not collected centrally. As at September 2001, the latest available data, there were 23,080 qualified midwives employed in the national health service in England. As at March 2002, there were 530 vacancies lasting three months or more for midwives.