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Volume 556: debated on Tuesday 15 January 2013

The Government are committed to ensuring that the number of midwives in training matches the needs of the birth rate. There are now over 800 more midwives working in the NHS than there were in May 2010, and a record 5,000 currently in training.

The Oliver Fisher neonatal intensive care unit at Medway Maritime hospital in my constituency is an excellent charity that looks after approximately 900 premature and sick new-borns each year. What further midwife support will the Government give to such care units?

My hon. Friend is absolutely right to point out the excellent work done at his local unit, which receives funding from the NHS and from charitable sources. We are investing more money into training midwives, and there are now more midwives working in the NHS. It is for local commissioners to capitalise on that, and to invest in support for neonatal units.

With births per midwife rising, maternity services being cut and newly qualified midwives unable to find a job, what on earth happened to the famous boast of the Prime Minister that he would recruit 3,000 more midwives and make their lives a lot easier?

With respect, perhaps the hon. Gentleman should listen to my answers before he pre-prepares a statement. I just outlined clearly that in the past two years there have already been 800 more midwives working in the NHS, and there are record numbers in training thanks to the investment being made by the Government. We are delivering on making sure that we are investing in maternity and investing in high-quality care for women. We are proud to be doing that—something the previous Government failed to do.