BOLTON has lost more than a dozen midwives in a year amid continued pressure on maternity care.

The findings show that that the equivalent of just over 13 full time midwives left Bolton NHS Foundation between December 2020 and December last year.

Only last autumn, Royal Bolton had moved to address concerns about delays to maternity services, with one couple waiting as much as five days to induce labour in September, and now NHS England Data shows there are the equivalent of just 202.5 full time midwives left at the trust.

Royal College of Midwives chief executive Gill Walton said: “At the same time as demands on services and the pressures on maternity staff are rising, staff numbers are going down.

“Despite the often-heroic work of midwives and others to try to plug the gaps, this is putting the quality of care and the safety of women and babies at risk.”

Bolton’s problems were reflected across England, where 337 full times midwives left their jobs over the same period leaving a total of 22,192 nationwide.

Ms Walton said: “England is still more than 2,000 midwives short of where we need to be and that simply isn’t good enough.”

Bolton NHS Foundation Trust says it is addressing the issue.

Interim head of midwifery and consultant midwife Louise Tucker said: “Bolton NHS Foundation Trust has a strong commitment to increasing midwife numbers with an ongoing recruitment programme looking at innovative ways to attract midwives and midwifery support workers.

“We are also training student midwives from several Universities with the aim of recruiting all students who train alongside our incredibly experienced and dedicated staff.

“To aid retention we have implemented a number of strategies locally to support the next generation of maternity staff, as well as offering flexible working to our current workforce

"The safety of birthing people and their babies is our key priority and we continue to support families within the community and hospital setting. 

“Our midwives in collaboration with the wider team of support staff, obstetricians, neonatologists and anesthetists, provide a valuable service, supporting thousands of women and families every year before, during, and after birth."