The workload of midwives in Wales will soon be shared with maternity assistants who complete new training courses in a bid to relieve work pressure and improve care.
The move is in reponse to a growing birth rate in Wales, with 34,414 babies born in 2007 compared to 33,628 in 2006.
Under the plans support workers, supervised by midwives, will be able to help mothers with breast feeding and nutrition as well as taking their blood pressure and blood tests.
There are currently 1,977 registered midwives in Wales and support workers make up 20% of the workforce, but the number of midwifery training places is also being increased from 95 to 110 in September in a bid to aid the growing birth rate.
The new training course for support workers will take 18 months to complete and will include classes and work-based learning. Those who complete the course will be awarded a qualification in maternity support.
Wales’s chief nursing officer Rosemary Kennedy said: “Midwives have an invaluable role in caring for mothers and newborn babies, but as a result of the increasing birth rate, have been under greater pressure.
“We are investing significantly in more staff, training, new units and equipment, to improve care and the working environment for staff.”
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