John Cryer has called on the government to address the nation’s shortage of midwives, and said London should be given a particular focus.

The MP for Leyton and Wanstead spoke about the issue in Parliament on Thursday, September 13, and raised the possibility of MPs debating on it after recess ends.

In January, the Royal College of Midwives called for midwives and nurses from EU countries to be given assurances that they will be allowed to remain in the UK working in the NHS post-Brexit.

In June, the Home Secretary Sajid Javid said EU citizens living in the UK would be able to remain if they could answer three questions – prove their ID, whether they have criminal convictions and whether they live in the UK.

Mr Cryer said: “North-east London has a rapidly rising birth rate, so may we have a debate, or at least a statement when we return, on the national shortage of midwives, but with a particular focus on London?”

The Leader of the House, Andrea Leadsom, agreed that “the availability of midwives and maternity units is absolutely key” and said “there is a lot more to be done” on the issue.

Jon Skewes, director for external relations at the Royal College of Midwives, said that “the workforce is at a virtual standstill.”

He said: “Nationally, the NHS is short of 3,500 midwives, and some of the biggest pressures on the system are in areas like London.”

He added: “More action is needed.”

Despite over 2,000 new midwives being trained last year, the number of NHS midwives rose by just 67 from the year earlier.

In January, a report by the health committee said “too little attention has been given to retaining midwives and nurses in the NHS.”