Maternity Services in Morecambe Bay — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:19 pm on 3rd March 2015.

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Photo of Baroness Emerton Baroness Emerton Crossbench 7:19 pm, 3rd March 2015

I thank the Minister for repeating the Statement. I want to pick up two points. The report by the King’s Fund relating to the supervision of midwifery said that there was a risk in changing the situation because there might be no one ready to take on the job. That is a very telling phrase in what is a very long and sad report about what has been going on. We need to be very clear. I hope that the noble Earl will be able to reassure us that the supervision of midwives, which has a long history, from 1902 to now, but in very changed circumstances, will be sustained in a way that is going to be to the benefit of mothers for the safe delivery of babies. A report like this always sends shock waves through the profession and is very sad for the families involved. We need to be clear that the action being proposed in the Statement is taken forward quickly. I notice that the supervision is supposed to be concluded by the end of July. That is a very short time to sort out a very complex system.

The second point I want to pick up is the one made by the noble Lord, Lord Hunt, about a chief midwifery officer. The Minister said that he would look at that. It is not something that has been thought of very carefully. We have a Chief Nursing Officer and a director of public health and so it would be sensible to give this serious consideration, especially in light of the present situation. I ask the Minister to take that away and consider it.