MIDWIVES are being recruited at the Royal Bolton Hospital—as a consultation continues over 500 job cuts at Bolton NHS Foundation Trust to save money.

The Trust, which is more than £14.5 million in debt and has to save £50 million over three years, has announced the Princess Anne Maternity Unit is recruiting 20 extra midwives.

It comes after it was revealed in October the hospital did not have enough midwives to cope with the number of babies being born in the town each year.

At the time, Bolton had one midwife for every 31 mothers who give birth, but the national standard is one for every 28 mothers.

It meant the hospital was delivering 6,500 babies per year, but only had staff for 6,300.

In 2011, the hospital was given £20 million to spend on services for women, children and babies, as part of Making it Better, a scheme to create maternity “supercentres” in Greater Manchester.

It led to expansion at Bolton and the closure of other maternity centres, such as Fairfield General Hospital in Bury. Now, the hospital has announced it is recruiting midwives to meet the national standard of one midwife for every 28 births.

The ratio is not related to one to one care in labour, which is a different standard and that the hospital aims to give to every woman.

The unit has more than 300 midwives. Some of the new staff have already started work and others will start over the next few weeks.

Nationally in 2011, there were 688,120 babies born in England, the highest number since 1971.

Provisional numbers from the Office for National Statistics have suggested that 2012 could be another recordbreaking year.

Sue Anderton, head of midwifery at the Trust, said: “There have been some rumours we are losing midwives, but in fact we’re recruiting.

“If there are further increases in the birth rate, or changes in the workforce, we will recruit again.”

Harry Hanley, secretary of Staff Side at the Trust, added: “It is nice to hear there is a success story and they are recruiting midwives.”