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Staff shortages in maternity units need urgent attention

Today’s Western Mail reports that serious concerns have been voiced about the lack of urgency in dealing with chronic staffing shortages in Wales’ embattled maternity units.

They say that in a report published today into maternity services, the National Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee accused the Welsh Government of failing to act quickly enough to deal with poor staffing levels in Welsh hospitals. The report also warned that the quality of care available to expectant mothers in Wales may not be sustainable because of the severe pressures on resources. Experts have called for more midwives to be recruited as a matter of urgency to tackle the issue:

During their inquiry, members were also told of the high rate of caesarian section births in Wales, with the procedure accounting for almost one in four deliveries.

The Committee said that although progress has been made since an earlier report on the issue in 2010, there was still significant scope for improvement.

The report makes 12 recommendations, including a call on the Welsh Government to rule clearly on what constitutes minimum staffing requirements for safe and sustainable midwifery and obstetrics services.

The report also called on the Welsh Government’s to clarify what it means by a “significant reduction” in caesarean section rates.

Staffing levels have remained a concern throughout the whole of the NHS, with the report coming just a day after urgent calls were made to increase staff numbers following the revelation that more than half of dignity spot-checks in Wales’ hospitals had raised concerns about patient safety.

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