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Hospital: “Today, we no longer have enough midwives to deliver babies”


Ihere are health crises that are truly difficult to anticipate. But the one that happens this summer 2022, linked to the dangerous lack of midwives in birthing rooms, forcing certain maternities to lower the curtain, even if only temporarily, could, alas, be prevented, because the causes have been known for a long time. .

Pregnant women are now exposed to being tossed around, and the word is weak, at a time when they have the greatest need for stability and complete confidence in the place they have chosen for their delivery. Provided that this crisis, in the end, does not result in any serious accident, linked to the lack of space available in maternity wards, especially in Ile-de-France.

Read the column: Article reserved for our subscribers “For their pregnancy, women should be able to freely choose the course of care that suits them”

The hospital fabric, already disrupted by the Covid epidemic but above all by the severe staff restrictions that have followed one another for thirty years ” to save money “, is on the bone. But all the same, the number of maternity wards has increased from 1,375 in the 1970s to 480 today.

Insufficient salary and difficult conditions

And the parallel increase in the number of midwives, from 18,000 in 2011 to 23,400 in 2021, not to mention the 1,000 diplomas awarded each year, does not fail to raise questions about the causes of this critical situation in the classrooms. birth. The two curves intersect so much that we could have expected an upturn. Where does this come from? “evaporation” number of midwives in hospital departments?

So let’s venture on a few hypotheses supported by the DRESS figures for 2021 and a few common sense observations: the salary of midwives, on average at 1,800 euros at the start of their career, is obviously insufficient in view of the responsibilities, time constraints and the average 2,300 euros that they receive when they are self-employed.

Read also: At least 10% of maternity wards in “partial closure” according to a union of midwives

Has thought been given to correctly remunerating the arduous nature of on-call obstetrical work? Have we thought about compensating night work and the stress of the delivery room at the right level? Are the working conditions in the midwifery acceptable today, at a time of continual replacements of resigning colleagues, or simply stopped, making the instability of working hours unbearable for the families of salaried midwives?

Free choice after school is not reasonable

While pre- and postnatal consultation work is certainly important, can we accept that the profession’s prospects for 2050, according to the analyzes of the Department of Research, Studies, Evaluation and Statistics (DREES), report a 70% increase in the number of freelance workers against only 1% more in maternity wards? It is certainly important to monitor pregnancies, but today we have already reached the point where we no longer have enough midwives to deliver babies.

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