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No one knows who is accountable for England’s midwife shortage, MPs say

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.g1279 (Published 31 January 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g1279
  1. Jacqui Wise
  1. 1London

England is short of 2300 midwives, and no one knows who should be held to account for this, says a report from the parliamentary public accounts committee.1

The report calls on the Department of Health to set out clearly its objectives for maternity care and explicitly state who is accountable. Since April 2013 maternity services have been commissioned by clinical commissioning groups, which are overseen by NHS England.

Margaret Hodge, the committee’s chairwoman, described the shortage as “truly worrying.” She said, “The Department of Health and NHS England struggled to tell my committee who is accountable for ensuring something as fundamental as whether the NHS has enough midwives.”

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, described the report as another wake-up call for the government. “It is a concern that no one appears to …

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