The government has said that it will continue to train midwives at current rates and will consider ways of helping with recruitment and retention in the profession.

The statement comes as the general secretary of the Royal College of Midwives, Cathy Warwick has attacked the government on going back on its word to employ more midwives. She told the union’s annual conference that 3,500 more midwives were needed to cope with the greater demand and says she fears for the future if numbers are not boosted. She told the conference: “I fear for the future of maternity services, that the quality of care will fall and that safety could be compromised.”

However, the Department of Health said that Health Secretary Andrew Lansley had used a recent meeting with the union to reassure them that recruitment was still under consideration. At a recent Prime Minister’s Questions, David Cameron said he did want to see more midwives and that unlike the last government, the coalition would be funding the NHS in a way that made recruitment possible.