'Critical' shortage of midwives highlighted
The critical shortage of midwives in Irish hospitals has been highlighted on International Day of the Midwife.
President of the Irish Nurses and Midwives Organisation (INMO) Claire Mahon warned that midwifery standards and best practice are being "increasingly pressured" due to our continuing high birth rate against a background of a shortage of midwives.
She also said that births are becoming "increasingly complex", which puts ever greater demands upon midwives and maternity services.
Immediate action is now required to recruit additional midwifery staff," Ms Mahon said. "This day should generate positive actions, both here and abroad, to realise this essential goal," she said.
The theme for International Day of the Midwife, celebrated globally today, is 'Midwives: for a better tomorrow'.
The global number of pregnancies each year is expected to remain constant at about 166 million, but just 22pc of countries have enough adequately educated midwives to meet the basic needs of the world's women and newborns.
A survey last year found that maternity services in Ireland needed over 621 midwives to reach the recommended staffing level for safe and better care.
Health Minister Leo Varadkar last week set up a group of frontline staff to advise on a possible new maternity strategy.
The INMO has urged him to also take on board the findings of a study currently underway on midwifery manpower in Ireland due in a matter of weeks.