Essex hospital to spend more than £1m on new maternity staff

Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow

More than £1m will be spent recruiting new maternity staff at Princess Alexandra Hospital, Harlow - Credit: Sarah Lucy Brown

An NHS hospital trust in west Essex will spend over £1 million on staffing at a maternity ward after staff shortage reports.

Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow will recruit approximately 22 new staff to its midwifery team at a cost of £1,049,180.

According to a trust report, reviews by the director of midwifery and staffing tool Birthrate Plus identified a deficit of clinical midwives, maternity support workers and specialist and managerial positions.

The reviews recommended an investment be made to "maintain safe staffing".

A March for Midwives in London

Midwives throughout the country have called for better staffing arrangements - Credit: PA/Dominic Lipinski

Guiseppe Labriola, director of midwifery at Princess Alexandra Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said in a statement: "Following the approval of the midwifery workforce review paper at our board meeting on February 3, 2022, we will be investing in additional posts.

"While we currently have sufficient frontline clinical midwives in all areas, we are now growing our team with additional midwives to support our new maternity support workers, specialist midwives, and we are strengthening our clinical leadership.

"In total, we are investing in approximately 22 whole time equivalent posts.

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"We are looking forward to recruiting new members of our team, developing our maternity service to benefit families of the future."

The trust has received £1,055,822 in funding which could contribute to the cost of the new workforce, which includes £205,822 in Ockenden Report funding.

The 2020 Ockenden Report examined failings in maternity care at the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust.

It examined 13 maternal deaths at one hospital between 2000 and 2019, and a total 1,862 cases where patients faced poor experiences or patient outcomes.

In response to this, £95.9m was given to maternity services throughout England, according to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.

According to Princess Alexandra Hospital's report, funding will be released to enable the recruitment process in the last quarter of the financial year 2021-22.

A perinatal mental health midwife will be funded at a cost of £57,227 in the first quarter of 2022-23.

A sum of £235,179 for a consultant midwife, diabetic midwife, matron and governance administrator will then be made available in the second quarter of that year, the report continues.