HC Deb 02 September 2003 vol 410 cc6-8W
Mr. Baron

To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many full-time equivalent midwives were employed in the NHS in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [126997]

Mr. Hutton

The information requested is shown in the table.

Between 2000 and 2002, there has been an increase of 460 whole-time equivalent midwives as training numbers have increased and recruitment and retention strategies have been implemented.

NHS midwives as at 30 September each year
Whole-time equivalents
1998 18,168
1999 17,876
2000 17,662
2001 18,048
2002 18,119


Department of Health Non-Medical Workforce census

Mr. Baron

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what mechanisms the NHS has for offering homebirth and natural birthing opportunities to expectant mothers. [126998]

Dr. Ladyman

The national health service provides a variety of types of care for women during pregnancy and childbirth, including home birth and natural birthing opportunities. The Department of Health advocates local decision making in designing appropriate, effective services that fit in with the ethos of woman-centred care. It is inevitable that the requirements of women will vary in different parts of the country and this is why it is so important that decisions about service provision are made at a local level.

The Department of Health is currently developing the children's national service framework (NSF) which includes a maternity module. The NSF will focus on extending maternity choices, so that women in all parts of the country have a greater choice in the place and type of birth.

Dr. Evan Harris

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on the numbers of consultant obstetricians in labour units in the NHS; what guidelines he has issued on the(a) optimum and (b) minimum coverage of labour units by consultant obstetricians; and what the average number of consultant obstetricians in labour units in (i) England and (ii) each strategic health authority is. [124224]

Dr. Ladyman

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Health and Department of Health officials have received a number of representations on numbers of consultants in obstetrics and gynaecology on labour units, in particular, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecology.

These include contributions to the report to the children task force from the maternity and neonatal workforce group, annual speciality review meetings and the maternity module of the children's national service framework.

The Department of Health does not issue professional guidance on labour ward cover. This is a matter for the professional bodies and for local determination according to a units circumstances and requirements.

We do not collect figures on the number of consultant obstetricians in labour units in England. The number of consultants with an obstetric and gynaecology speciality in each strategic health authority is shown in the table.

Hospital medical consultants with an obstetrics and gynaecology

speciality by strategic health authority—as at 30 September 2002—(headcount)

England 1,308
Q01 Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire 57
Q02 Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire 31
Q03 Essex 27
Q04 North West London 70
Q05 North Central London 49
Q06 North East London 63
Q07 South East London 52
Q08 South West London 36
Q09 Northumberland, Tyne and Wear 47
Q10 County Durham and Tees Valley 38
Q11 North and East Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire 36
Q12 West Yorkshire 51
Q13 Cumbria and Lancashire 43
Q14 Greater Manchester 74
Q15 Cheshire and Merseyside 69
Q16 Thames Valley 48
Q17 Hampshire and Isle of Wight 40
Q18 Kent and Medway 43
Q19 Surrey and Sussex 61
Q20 Avon, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire 53
Q21 South West Peninsula 30
Q22 Dorset and Somerset 24
Q23 South Yorkshire 47
Q24 Trent 55
Q25 Leicestershire, Northamptonshire and Rutland 38
Q26 Shropshire and Staffordshire 26
Q27 Birmingham and the Black Country 65
Q28 Coventry, Warwickshire, Hertfordshire and Worcestershire 35


Department of Health medical and dental workforce census

Dr. Evan Harris

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average number of babies born per bed per day in labour units in(a) England and (b) each strategic health authority has been in each year since 1997. [124227]

Dr. Ladyman

The information is not available in the format requested. Information about maternities and maternity beds in England is shown in the table. However, information by strategic health authority is not available.

Number of maternities and available maternity beds, England, 1997–98 to 2002–02
Year Maternities Available maternity beds Maternities per bed per day
1997–98 585,000 10,781 0.15
1998–99 577,500 10,398 0.15
1999–2000 565,300 10,203 0.15
2000–01 549,600 9,767 0.15
2001–02 541,700 9,812 0.15


Maternities—DH/SD3G; available beds—DH/hospital activity statistics