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Increase in midwifery units creating new nursing opportunities

Thursday 23rd February 2017
New nursing posts are being created at the UKs growing number of midwifery-led birthing units. Image: Astakhova via iStock
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New nursing opportunities are being created throughout the UK as an increasing number of midwifery units are opening across the country.

The University of Nottingham has published new research looking into the growing popularity of midwifery-led birthing units, finding that the number of women choosing to have their babies at these facilities has increased from five per cent to 14 per cent over the past six years.

The number of births taking place at each unit varied, with five centres seeing over 400 babies born per year on average and 650 births recorded at one particularly busy unit over a 12-month period.

At the same time, the number of midwifery units operating in Britain has risen from 53 to 97 during this period, which indicates that hospital leaders are finding that they complement obstetric units successfully, although these fell in number by ten per cent between 2010 and 2016.

However, women do now have the right to request to give birth in a midwifery unit, a move that was introduced as part of the UK government's Five-Year Forward View for maternity following approval from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, commented: "This is very valuable research. It is very encouraging that more women are making the choice to give birth in this type of midwife-led unit.

"It suggests that when women have real choice about where they want to give birth, that midwife-led care is a choice they want to make."

Dr Denis Walsh, an associate professor of midwifery at the University of Nottingham, added that there is evidence to suggest that these units are better for mothers, are proven to be safe for babies and are a cheaper option for the NHS as it continues to struggle with overcrowded wards and increasing levels of pressure.

As a result of the increase in interest in midwifery units, more nursing posts are being created at these centres, creating new opportunities for those wanting to work with new and expectant mothers and their infants.

Written by James Puckle

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