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Maternity Services

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what estimate he has made of the number of maternity ward places needed in England in (a) 2010, (b) 2015 and (c) 2025; and what estimate he has made of the cost of any increase; (255724)

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect of the projected rise in population on the (a) number of and (b) cost of provision of maternity ward places in England in (i) 2010, (ii) 2015 and (iii) 2025; and if he will make a statement.

The Department made an overall assessment of the pressures on the national health service for the period 2008-09 to 2010-11 as part of the 2007 comprehensive spending review. This was not at the level of individual services such as maternity wards. Funding for maternity services is included within overall primary care trust (PCT) revenue allocations.

Local NHS organisations are responsible for developing maternity services in response to the needs of their local population, and for ensuring that they have sufficient wards, and sufficient staff, with the right skills, to offer appropriate choices.

We have provided an extra £330 million over three years in PCT baseline allocations for 2008-09 to 2010-11, to support maternity services. Strategic health authorities are planning to recruit an additional 1,000 midwives by September 2009 and altogether 4,000 more by 2012, contingent on the rising birth rate, to meet the demands of rising births and the aspirations of “Maternity Matters”. A copy of “Maternity Matters” has already been placed in the Library.