“The main way to solve these problems is simply to improve midwife numbers“
Louise Silverton, of the Royal College of Midwives
Guess the fact that 2, of our team of 7 community midwives, are leaving the profession this January won’t help the situation then. Why are they leaving? The politics, the bureaucracy, and the impossibility of providing the level of care they believe they should and so fulfill the demands of a public who have been given unrealisic expectations of today’s maternity services.
I have to say that the way some sections of the media report the problems really doesn’t help the desire to continue. My sensitive little self found the article in The Times quite upsetting. It started on accusatory note “Midwives are failing to offer proper care and reassurance during childbirth, with one in four women being abandoned during labour or soon after, a watchdog says today” with the title stating that ‘”A quarter of women are abandoned by their NHS midwives during childbirth”. This makes it sound that midwives are happy with the fact that they are unable to offer one-to-one care to women. That it is every midwives ideal scenario to start their shift with 8 women on labour ward with only 4 or 5 midwives on duty. I wish the article had been more evenhanded, and qualified the facts and figures with the causes of the failure to provide ‘best care. For example, after reporting that ‘ Only one in five women surveyed said that she had a midwife who looked after her during labour and birth, while more than two in five said that three or more staff had cared for them at different times’the journalist could have pointed out that, due to budgetary constraints, midwives are not paid if they work over their contracted hours. How often would most employees remain several hours extra on every shift if they were not being paid? The majority of midwives I have worked with will remain with a woman who is in labour if birth appears imminent but, even if he birth occurs only 30 minutes after her shift officially ended, there are still all the notes and computer entries to complete, adding at least another 45-60 minutes to the 30 minutes she has already stayed. If this is a ‘late’ shift, finishing at 21.30, it is now 23.00, she has still to travel home and her next shift might begin at 07.30 the next day. Midwives, like all other workers, do get tired. It’s all just so depressing.