Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Migrant baby boom triggers midwife crisis in Britain: Half of wards being forced to turn expectant mothers away

Women in labour are being turned away from maternity units as midwives are overwhelmed by record numbers of births.

With immigrants helping push birth rates in England to their highest level for 40 years, more than half of maternity wards admit shutting their doors an average of seven times a year when the strain on midwives becomes too great.

Expectant women who then turn up are sent away to other hospitals.

Research by The Royal College of Midwives says that thousands of new midwives are needed if the ‘massive gap’ in staffing is to be plugged, the ‘relentless rise in births’ handled and for mothers and babies to be given the quality of care they need.

Yesterday Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM, warned of ‘threadbare’ services with midwives ‘running themselves ragged’. She said: ‘Maternity units are under intense strain, with many midwives really at the end of their tether. We are reaching a crucial tipping point for maternity services.’

The RCM’s State Of Maternity Services report, which will be launched at an event in Parliament tomorrow, says that although there have been attempts to boost midwife numbers, England alone still needs another 5,000 – an increase of about a quarter on today’s level.

Office for National Statistics figures show there were 688,120 babies born in England in 2011, the most since 1971.

The trend seems set to continue, with provisional data for 2012 pointing to it being another record-breaker and ONS projections suggesting the birth rate in England could hit 743,000 by 2014.

Corby in Northamptonshire saw the biggest baby boom, with a 63 per cent jump between 2002 and 2011 – three times the rise across England as a whole.  Other hotspots include Bournemouth, with a 54 per cent increase, Boston, Lincolnshire (53.5 per cent), the London borough of Barking and Dagenham (52.5 per cent) and Slough in Berkshire, which saw a 50.5 per cent rise.
birthrate hotspots

Immigration is one factor, with foreign-born mothers now having nearly a quarter of all babies in Britain, but the RCM report says midwives are also struggling to look after record numbers of older mothers, who are more prone to complications.

The report follows a survey of new mothers which found that despite a Government pledge for mothers-to-be to have their care overseen by one midwife, 40 per cent always saw a different one.

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter said that more than 800 new midwives have started work since 2010, and 5,000 more are due to qualify in the next three years.

He added: ‘The number of midwives is increasing faster than the birth rate. Most women already have one-to-one maternity care, and we are working closely with The Royal College of Midwives to ensure that is available for every woman.’

Thousands of patients are at risk from appalling care reminiscent of scandal-hit Stafford Hospital, the health secretary has claimed.

Jeremy Hunt’s warning comes just weeks before the report of a public inquiry into the deaths of up to 1,200 people from poor care in the hospital’s A&E department between 2005 and 2009.

He said that while there are no hospitals as bad as Stafford, ‘there are little bits of Stafford dotted around the system’.

He added: ‘The biggest change the NHS needs to make is to embed compassion at the heart of what it does.’


Illegal immigrants pay £1,500 to be smuggled OUT of Britain: Fears gangs are helping foreign criminals flee the country

Illegal immigrants are paying criminal gangs £1,500 a time to smuggle them out of Britain, it emerged last night. The foreign nationals – many of whom sneaked into the UK undetected in the first place – are put in the back of lorries and transported to France.

By avoiding contact with the authorities they can travel on to a European destination of their choice, rather than risk being sent back to their homeland thousands of miles away.

It is feared that foreign criminals on the run from the police are fleeing in this way.

The bizarre trade, exposed by a BBC Panorama investigation to be shown this evening, is an embarrassment for ministers.

Critics will say it shows how the Government cannot stop illegal migrants from leaving Britain, let alone entering.

Over a year, Panorama made contact with three criminal gangs offering to smuggle illegal immigrants out of the country with no questions asked.

Reporter Paul Kenyon secretly recorded the meeting with the fixer of one gang, held in a fast-food restaurant in London.

He posed as an immigrant from Moldova who had been working illegally in the UK without a passport or paperwork and who wanted to return home to his sick wife.

The fixer, a former Indian police officer called ‘Munga’, said for £1,500 per person the gang would smuggle groups of three or four illegal immigrants across the Channel in the back of a lorry, taking them to Calais train station.

Mr Kenyon told the Daily Mail: ‘This is a trade in human cargo of a very different kind to the one the UK Border Agency is used to.

‘Many people will be astonished – as well as relieved – to learn that illegal immigrants are abandoning the UK in search of work abroad.

‘It suggests that attempts to crack down on failed asylum seekers and overstayers – as well as the downturn in our own economy and subsequent lack of work here – could at last be having an effect.

‘But who is to say that when these people fail to find work abroad, they won’t simply buy their way back to Britain via the very people traffickers they used to leave the country.

‘Once back here, they might then try again to claim asylum, or simply vanish into the “ghost” community.’

Illegal immigrants who are caught by the authorities are offered financial ‘bribes’ if they agree to go home.

Officials estimate a forced deportation costs more than £11,000.

Mark Harper, the immigration minister, yesterday admitted:  ‘It is possible we don’t catch every single person who tries  to enter the country clandestinely.’

But he added: ‘When we do catch people, we’re increasing the work we do with our European colleagues. We make sure people are fingerprinted so we can check to see if they have entered the European Union in another country.

‘If they have, we can return them back to the country where they first entered.’


No comments:

Post a Comment