The summer is the worst time to be due to give birth in the UK, as the number of women in labour who are turned away from maternity wards peaks during these months thanks to staff holidays.
The findings were collated by the Institute of Fiscal Studies, who discovered that wards were 50 per cent more likely to refuse entry to new arrivals in June and July, as there aren't enough mid-wives available. The same was true for the weekend - although this was slightly lower at 30 per cent.
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On average, this meant that women were left for up to 16 hours during closing times. Patient Concern described the news as 'absolutely frightening'.
'It’s just extraordinary that people who deliver babies can refuse to work weekends or are not employed in sufficient numbers and no one will make them do it,' said spokeswoman Joyce Robins. 'It must be absolutely frightening for couples to be left in the lurch like this. Women don't have any choice about when they go into labour - they need a service that they can rely on.'
In response, the Royal College of Midwives said that there needed to be an increase in staff numbers by at least 3,500.
'There is a cocktail of a historically high birthrate, increasingly complex births and staff shortages that lead to units closing temporarily,' said Jon Skewes. 'Heads of Midwifery tell us that pressures on services are leading to closures and also to the temporary removal of services such as home births.'