Skip to main content

Maternity Care

Volume 410: debated on Tuesday 2 September 2003

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many full-time equivalent midwives were employed in the NHS in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [126997]

The information requested is shown in the table.Between 2000 and 2002, there has been an increase of 460 whole-time equivalent midwives as training numbers have increased and recruitment and retention strategies have been implemented.

NHS midwives as at 30 September each year
Whole-time equivalents


Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce census

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms the NHS has for offering homebirth and natural birthing opportunities to expectant mothers. [126998]

The national health service provides a variety of types of care for women during pregnancy and childbirth, including home birth and natural birthing opportunities. The Department of Health advocates local decision making in designing appropriate, effective services that fit in with the ethos of woman-centred care. It is inevitable that the requirements of women will vary in different parts of the country and this is why it is so important that decisions about service provision are made at a local level.The Department of Health is currently developing the children's national service framework (NSF) which includes a maternity module. The NSF will focus on extending maternity choices, so that women in all parts of the country have a greater choice in the place and type of birth.

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on the numbers of consultant obstetricians in labour units in the NHS; what guidelines he has issued on the (a) optimum and (b) minimum coverage of labour units by consultant obstetricians; and what the average number of consultant obstetricians in labour units in (i) England and (ii) each strategic health authority is. [124224]

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Department of Health officials have received a number of representations on numbers of consultants in obstetrics and gynaecology on labour units, in particular, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology.These include contributions to the report to the children task force from the maternity and neonatal workforce group, annual speciality review meetings and the maternity module of the children's national service framework.

The Department of Health does not issue professional guidance on labour ward cover. This is a matter for the professional bodies and for local determination according to a units circumstances and requirements.

We do not collect figures on the number of consultant obstetricians in labour units in England. The number of consultants with an obstetric and gynaecology speciality in each strategic health authority is shown in the table.

Hospital medical consultants with an obstetrics and gynaecology
speciality by strategic health authority—as at 30 September 2002—(headcount)


Q01Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire57
Q02Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire31
Q04North West London70
Q05North Central London49
Q06North East London63
Q07South East London52
Q08South West London36
Q09Northumberland, Tyne and Wear47
Q10County Durham and Tees Valley38
Q11North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire36
Q12West Yorkshire51
Q13Cumbria and Lancashire43
Q14Greater Manchester74
Q15Cheshire and Merseyside69
Q16Thames Valley48
Q17Hampshire and Isle of Wight40
Q18Kent and Medway43
Q19Surrey and Sussex61
Q20Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire53
Q21South West Peninsula30
Q22Dorset and Somerset24
Q23South Yorkshire47
Q25Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland38
Q26Shropshire and Staffordshire26
Q27Birmingham and the Black Country65
Q28Coventry, Warwickshire, Hertfordshire and Worcestershire35


Department of Health medical and dental workforce census

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average number of babies born per bed per day in labour units in (a) England and (b) each strategic health authority has been in each year since 1997. [124227]

The information is not available in the format requested. Information about maternities and maternity beds in England is shown in the table. However, information by strategic health authority is not available.

Number of maternities and available maternity beds, England, 1997–98 to 2002–02
YearMaternitiesAvailable maternity bedsMaternities per bed per day


Maternities—DH/SD3G; available beds—DH/hospital activity statistics