High levels of midwife sickness causing 'strain' at Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury maternity units

High levels of sickness within maternity wards at local hospitals has put a "considerable strain" on services.

Thursday, 9th September 2021, 7:26 pm
Updated Thursday, 9th September 2021, 7:28 pm
Fatigue, Covid and maternity leave have all forced midwives off work in recent months.

The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Pinderfields, Pontefract and Dewsbury, said the recruitment of 30 new midwives would help ease the burden on its departments.

The trust stressed that the safety of new mums and their babies had not been compromised, with standards remaining high.

Fatigue, coronavirus and a mixture of physical and mental health problems have contributed to the high levels of absence within labour wards across the three hospitals.

The trust said mums-to-be were still being adequately cared for.

Those rates are higher than the average level of sickness across departments.

Speaking at a trust board meeting on Thursday, director of nursing David Melia, said: "Though we only have six midwifery vacancies at the moment, the rate of sickness and maternity leave is causing a considerable strain on the service.

"However, although we will have just under 11 midwives leave the trust before October, just under 30 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff will be joining us.

"We've made the decision to recruit from among those who have graduated this year.

Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield

"They will be newly qualified so they will require support, though they will lift our numbers."

Mr Melia said that women giving birth had continued to receive the necessary amount of care and attention, but he added that it had taken, "A lot of work to maintain that."

Asked if there were any specific factors behind the levels of absence, he replied: "I think we often find there's a couple of professional groups or areas of work where there's a higher rate of sickness.

"I know that besides ill health, there's issues around fatigue and Covid absence.

"There's family reasons too, why people feel they are unable to provide good clinical care at the moment."

Local Democracy Reporting Service