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Health: Midwives

Volume 703: debated on Monday 30 June 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What steps they have taken to address the shortage of midwives described by the Royal College of Midwives. [HL4382]

The department is continuing to work closely with strategic health authorities (SHAs), the Royal College of Midwives and other stakeholders to expand capacity in the maternity workforce. The NHS in England: The Operating Framework for 2007-08 (copies of which are available in the Library) required primary care trusts to assess local maternity services and workforce capacity. SHAs shared their interim workforce plans with the department in February 2008 to expand by up to 4,000 midwives by 2012, based on the current rising birth rate trend. Locally driven measures, including supporting midwives to return to work in the National Health Service through return to practice programmes, improved leadership, and mentoring are being supported with targeted funding of £1.5 million in 2008-09.