The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has warned it is concerned for its members safety after a survey revealed more than half do not feel safe carrying out home visits.
The survey of more than 900 midwives found 54% of members do not feel safe entering women’s homes at the moment.
Of those who said they do not feel safe, the vast majority (99%) said they were afraid because of a potential exposure to coronavirus.
And almost half (46%) said it was because of a lack of PPE.
Around a third (35%) said they do not feel safe at work and a similar figure (34%) had reported a shortage of PPE to their employers.
Of those who said they had had coronavirus symptoms, 28% said they had been tested.
And of those receiving a test, 54% had travelled within five miles of their workplace, 20% had travelled 10 miles and 22% over 10 miles.
‘Up and down the country, midwives and maternity support workers (MSWs) are doing all they can to provide the care and support pregnant women need,’ said RCM chief executive, Gill Walton.
‘We are concerned that so many of them feel unsafe working in the community and carrying out home visits. The lack of appropriate PPE has been well-documented during this crisis and it is having a significant impact on our members’ ability to carry out home visits safely. This is simply not good enough.
‘We need more midwives to be tested at a much quicker rate than is currently happening so those that our self-isolating can get back to work as soon as possible.
‘Even before the pandemic, maternity services were struggling with staff shortages. Now around a fifth of midwife roles are unstaffed which understandably impacts on service provision, including home births and antenatal and postnatal appointments,’ she added.
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