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Dangerous midwife shortage: clinics sound the alarm


Hospitals are increasingly struggling with a lack of midwives
For years, there has been a warning about the growing shortage of midwives in Germany. In some regions, this already threatens medical care for pregnant women. Many clinics can no longer find obstetricians.

Lack of midwives endangers medical care
For years, experts have been warning of an increasing shortage of midwives. Hospitals in Bavaria are also increasingly struggling with the lack of obstetricians and the increasing number of births. The clinic in the Swabian town of Memmingen has now raised the alarm: "The doctors, nurses and midwives at the women's clinic at the Memmingen clinic are working at the limit," says a message.

Rising birth rates
Head physician Felix Flock said: "This year we expect almost 2,000 births, compared to 1,600 in the previous year." The hospital is "urgently looking for more midwives". According to the Bavarian Hospital Society (BKG), there are such problems nationwide, as there is a shortage of midwives almost everywhere. In a message from the dpa news agency, BKG spokesman Eduard Fuchshuber said: "There are many clinics that would love to hire midwives."

A delivery room closes almost every month
The regional supply of maternity wards is threatened by the problems. “When a child is born, it doesn't depend on the distance to the next delivery room. Expectant parents have to get to a place where they can get midwife help within a reasonable time, ”writes the German Midwives Association (DHV) on its website.

According to the experts, there were 1,186 hospitals in 1991 where births were possible. In 2014 there were only 725 obstetrics clinics left. "Since then, a delivery room closes the doors completely or temporarily almost every month," says the DHV.

Closures provide more needs elsewhere
Closures also occurred in Bavaria. For example, obstetrics in Illertissen, Swabia, was permanently closed, which meant that expectant mothers from this region sometimes moved to Memmingen and provided additional needs there.

At the same time, there are more and more births. According to a statement from the Bavarian State Statistical Office, there were more babies in the Free State in 2015 than in 15 years. Over 118,200 children saw the light of day there.

Dispute over liability insurance for freelance midwives
One factor that plays a major role in midwifery deficiency is the lengthy dispute over liability insurance for freelance obstetricians. According to the DHV, the premiums have increased more than tenfold since 2002.

Liability premiums for midwives only rose again last year. It is becoming increasingly difficult for expectant mothers to find the right midwife. (ad)

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