MP Margaret Hodge has warned that the NHS in England needs 2,300 more midwives if it is to provide a good service to pregnant women and babies.
The House Public Accounts Committee (PAC), which is chaired by Hodge, has highlighted major issues with the way maternity care is managed in the country.
They found that although 'the vast majority' of new mothers reported a positive experience in NHS maternity wards, some trusts did not have a sufficient number of midwives and consultants to provide a consistently high standard of care.
The PAC also raised concerns about the effect of shortages on staff morale. The demands placed on overstretched staff means that one in three midwives with less than 10 years experience is considering leaving the profession due to stress, the report found.
Insufficient or misallocated funds were cited by Hodge as a possible reason for the failings of maternity care.
"There is evidence that many maternity services are running at a loss, or at best breaking even, and that the available funding may be insufficient for trusts to employ enough midwives and consultants to provide high quality, safe care," she said.
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