BY LIZZIE PARRY
Thursday, January 24, 2013
FIGURES reveal Ipswich and Suffolk has seen a baby boom during the last decade.
One of the most significant factors behind the increase is the number of babies born to migrant parents.
Birth rates published by the Office for National Statistics show in 2002 in Ipswich 183 babies were born to migrant mums, while in 2011 that figure jumped to 448 babies – a 145pc increase.
The Royal College of Midwives this week advised the government that 5,000 extra midwives would be needed to cope with a national boom, a 22pc rise in nine years.
But in Ipswich, despite a 40pc rise in birth rates since 2002, the hospital said it has no shortage of midwives.
In Suffolk the rise in birth rate was 22.7pc, in line with the national average across the same time period.
The department at Heath Road employs 124 whole time equivalent midwife posts and currently has no vacancies.
Last year 3,807 babies were born at Ipswich Hospital – around ten each day. In 2011 the maternity unit welcomed 3,802 tots into the world.
Christine Colbourne the hospital’s head of midwifery, with 32 years’ experience delivering babies at the trust, said her team has never had to turn women away because of staffing shortages.
“We have noticed an increase in migrant mums over the last five years,” she said.
“We have not had an increase in the number of women overall, but the complexity and increase in care needs has been marked, mostly due to underlying medical needs and obesity.”
Hamil Clarke, a trustee of the Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality (ISCRE) said the figures were not a surprise.
“There are a number of migrant workers in the town and many are young people, so it is natural that we would see a rise in the number of babies born to these families,” he said.
“These people are making a huge contribution to the local economy.
“Migrant populations are very important to the town. Many migrant workers are doing jobs that the indigenous population do not want to do.
“This is really positive for Ipswich.”