New figures obtained by the Opposition have revealed that there has been a loss of 40 midwives over the past year.

“Despite the recent baby boom it’s shocking to see the number of midwives decline over the past 12 months,” said Shadow for Health Libby Mettam.

Recent figures indicate there were 1,191 midwives in the first quarter of 2020-21, and just 1,151 in the last quarter to June.

King Edward Memorial Hospital is forecast to deliver 6200 babies this year, representing a significant growth in demand from this overstretched workforce of 5800 babies in 2020.

“This chronic shortage has also led to significant discontent amongst this vital workforce.

“It is also obviously very distressing for pregnant mothers. The midwife shortage has resulted in the unbelievable situation where pregnant mothers have been turned away from King Edward Memorial Hospital.

“While the situation is now dire this is not a new issue. Since coming to Government there has been just a six per cent increase in midwives since 2017, equating to only an extra 57 midwives over the last four years, reflecting the Labor Governments lacklustre approach to recruiting this vital workforce.

“Despite promises to recruit more midwives, it’s disappointing to see these numbers are only going backwards.

“While there has been talk, we are yet to see any detail of the Labor Government recruitment plans to effectively address this shortage, in addition to addressing the shortage in other medical professions.

“We need to see some urgency from the WA Labor Government to address this situation given this ultimately impact health worker and patient safety.”

It’s understood the 27 bed ward at King Edward Hospital since last year because of this shortage.”