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London will need significantly more midwives by 2021, report predicts

Monday 9th October 2017
Birth rates in London are set to increase while midwife numbers are falling, meaning more will need to be taken on over the next few years. Image: tatyana_tomsickova via iStock
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    Significantly more nurses and midwives will be needed in London hospitals over the next few years, as birth rates in the UK capital are set to increase markedly.

    According to a new report from the King's Fund thinktank, between 2016 and 2021 the number of births in London is likely to rise by five per cent (approximately 6,942) each year.

    However, at the same time, midwife numbers look set to fall, as many of those leaving the profession or retiring are not being replaced at the same rate with new recruits. As a result, a big recruitment drive is needed, but so is more funding so that this can be possible and successful.

    The report predicts that London's population will continue to increase at a rapid rate over the next four years, with many of the women who are moving to the capital being of childbearing age.

    The King's Fund believes that the number of extra births in the city in four years' time will be equivalent to the workload of an entire maternity unit, meaning current nurses and midwives can expect to see their workload increase markedly.

    More midwives and specialist nurses will therefore need to be taken on to help the health service in London to cope with this rise in demand for maternity care and support.

    If funding is not made available from the government to help with this increase in recruitment, there is a risk that women may not be able to receive the very highest standard of care due to healthcare workers being overstretched.

    The report authors predict that the number of qualified midwives in London will fall by seven per cent between now and 2021 overall, meaning there will be plenty of opportunities for new midwives wanting to work in the capital.

    What's more, it was found that the number of hospital beds available for maternity patients has decreased by more than half (51 per cent) over the past 30 years, highlighting another area that needs more government investment in order to prevent problems from occurring.

    Written by James Puckle

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