There is so much in the news at the moment about the maternity services that I’m flitting around like a little butterfly.
Firstly I hear that midwives have rejected the pay award. Okay, so I’ll reject it, it is an insult and must be counter-productive in the drive to recruit all those ‘return to practice’ midwives. I really don’t believe though that the Government will take any notice, but at least they will know that there are another group of unhappy, public-sector employees.
Maternity Wards are like conveyor belts. Unfortunately operating in that way is the most time, cost and personnel efficient way of providing a service. Yes, the users have been promised much, but you can’t make a silk purse from a sow’s ear. Busy maternity wards, over-stretched staff, insufficient resources and the public’s concerns about hospital-acquired infections are not going to make the maternity ward a restful, cosseting place to be.
That brings me neatly to another article, ‘Midwife shortage hits home births’, which talks about how the Government’s promise to women of the opportunity to choose a homebirth is often an impossible option due to staffing levels. The Telegraph has gone childbirth mad, they are now an authority on how to “Get the birth you want“(!!!), find the nearest maternity unit which fulfils your requirements, get ready for a Caesarian Section and my favourite ” Your labour bag – what to pack”. That last one has inspired me, I shall be blogging my suggestions, realistic ones, in the next couple of days. In case it takes me longer than I anticipate, please hold off on the breast-pump.
Here’s a very sad case, which shows the possible implications of the on-call system that midwives work. I’ve talked about this before, how sometimes I will have worked all day, and then have been called back either to a home birth or into the unit for a further 12 hours. What people should consider is how safe am I at work for up to 24 hours and then driving home afterwards?
And finally, once more in The Telegraph, ‘I couldn’t have done it without her help’. A lovely piece written by Rowan Pelling about her Independent Midwife, Jane Evans. I am lucky enough to have heard Jane speak at conferences and meetings and have also had the opportunity to ‘pick her brains’ when I’ve been confronted with challenging cases. She is a font of experience, information and advice, so any students or wilting midwives out there who need a reminder of why they want to be a midwife, seek out one of her study days and I can promise that you will leave full of a renewed enthusiasm and belief. ( No, she is not paying me to advertise on her behalf!)