More needs to halt the declining numbers of midwives in England, an MP has said as she announced she is pregnant with her second child.
Conservative MP for Stroud, Siobhan Baillie, told the Commons that the number of midwives in England has “fallen year on year” due to the “mental anguish” facing the specialists.
She also announced her pregnancy in the Commons, telling MPs: “I am pregnant myself, and while I was hoping people just thought I had eaten too much Christmas trifle, I realise I am struggling to hide the bump now.
“God willing, there will be a summer bundle of joy that will give me additional sleepless nights over and above the normal MPs ones.
“This also makes me a real life current case study for maternity services with literal skin, blood and placenta in the game.
But Ms Baillie told MPs she was “one of the lucky ones” but that not every expecting mother was, adding: “When the Culture Secretary was the Maternity Services Minister last year, she was incredibly passionate about this area, she accepted that the NHS was short of the equivalent of 1,932 full time midwives.
“But since then, sadly the number of midwives has fallen by a further 222, leaving the shortage at over 2,000.”
The Stroud MP said she had received a letter from one midwife who was “extremely concerned about the deepening crisis within maternity care”.
Ms Baillie said: “That midwife handed in her notice.
“That is a loss of 10 years’ experience in clinical midwifery, and we cannot magic that experience back up to replace her overnight.
“She felt she could not always provide the good, kind midwifery care that she was trained to give.”
She added: “She began dreading every shift, being required to work faster and do more than was humanly possible meant fearing making a mistake that could lead to a tragic outcome.
“Maternity staff are incredibly human, caring people that just want to do a good job.
“They tell me that they can recover from the physical strain of the job each day.
“It is the mental anguish that is weighing heavier and heavier.”
She called on the Government to give “an update on progress and explain the recent decline in the number of midwives”.