Midwives expecting a very busy summer

THEY may spend their days delivering babies but an unusually high number of midwives at the DGH and its sister hospital are now expecting themselves.

East Sussex Healthcare Trust, which runs both the DGH and the Conquest in Hastings, is experiencing its own baby boom – with around one in 10 midwives either pregnant or already on maternity leave.

The trend is set to peak in September with 18 midwives booked in for maternity leave compared to nine at the moment.

Their work is being covered by bank and agency staff while an extra nine midwives are working while in earlier stages of pregnancy.

A total of 165 midwives are employed across the trust meaning 18 represents 11 per cent of the total workforce.

Plans are being put in place to cover these posts, with specialist midwives involved in breastfeeding, midwifery support, practice development and other senior midwifery staff working on the delivery suites and maternity wards.

Debra Young, head of midwifery at the trust, said, “It’s very unusual to have so many midwives expecting a baby or already on maternity leave at the same time.

“Given the nature of our workforce it’s not uncommon to have a proportion of the midwifery workforce on maternity leave, but this is more than double what we would expect and our priority continues to be ensuring that we provide a safe service for all local mothers to be, including our own staff.”

She admitted that certain projects would have to take a back seat for the time being but that at no stage would patient safety be compromised.

“During this challenging staffing period we will call upon our specialist midwives, senior midwifery staff and some agency midwives to support the service,” she said.”