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Midwife demand soars as birthrate rises

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The Royal College of Midwives believes that the NHS needs 5,000 more midwives to cope with demand over the next five years.

Speaking at the Labour party conference, health secretary Alan Johnson gave a heavy hint that thousands more midwives are to be recruited after a review of the NHS to be published next month.

Reported by the Times, Johnson said: “We have initially planned an extra 1,000 by 2009. If birthrates continue to rise we will need to train more.”

Johnson promises to do more to protect NHS staff from abuse. Announcing a £97 million fund to increase protection from staff, he said that anyone guilty of abusing staff should face the possibility of jail.

The statement comes on the back of new guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence that every women should have the right to give birth at home.

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Annie Hayes

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