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Hospitals need extra £400m a year to make maternity units safer

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Making maternity wards safer for mothers and babies will need £400m of extra spending every year, hospital leaders have told The Independent.

They warn that without increased funding, the NHS will not be able to fully implement recommendations made by an inquiry into poor maternity care at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospitals Trust – where dozens of babies died or were left brain damaged in the largest maternity scandal in NHS history.

Multiple maternity care failings at hospitals across the country in the past 12 months have sparked concerns over the safety of mothers and their babies with MPs on the Commons Health Select Committee launching an investigation into the issue last year.

Hospital leaders say even just covering existing shortfalls of 3,000 midwives and recruiting 20 per cent more obstetricians, will cost at least £250m a year. To pay for extra anaesthetists, neonatal nurses and other support staff could push the cost to more than £400m.

Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, which represents hospital trusts, told The Independent that ministers faced a choice of either making the extra cash available or forcing the NHS to cut money elsewhere.

In a letter to MPs on the committee, Mr Hopson urged them to demand extra funding in its forthcoming report on maternity safety in an effort to force ministers to confront the issue.

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Source: The Independent,9 February 2021,

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