There has been a lot in the news recently about a scottish midwife, Anne Duffy who resigned from her job and is now claiming constructive dismissal by her employers. I’ve been interested in the outcome as the decision, it seems to me, will come down to interpretation of the NMC rules.
As yet a decision hasn’t been reached concerning Anne Duffy’s case, so why am I writing about it now? Well, in the news today was a report about a couple whose baby sadly died as a result of no midwife going out to their home for the birth and the fact that a settlement has been agreed with the Trust.
In Scotland Anne Duffy was the midwife in charge of the maternity unit, which meant that she was the most experienced available midwife, when a call came in that a seriously ill, pregnant woman needed air lifting from an island to the hospital. After a discussion with other staff members she went off in the helicopter, when her actions were discovered she was disciplined and as a result she resigned. Report here.
So, on the one hand we have a case where a midwife attended and was disciplined as a result and on the other hand, we have a case where a hospital failed to provide a midwife, a baby died, and the Trust have, I assume, admitted fault and made a settlement with the parents.
There are differences here, in one a midwife failed to follow hospital procedure, but fulfilled the professional requirement to provide care, and as a result was disciplined and in the other a hospital failed to provide care and have admitted fault. Can anyone else see the double standard here?
The Huddersfield baby death does bring up the homebirth and midwife staffing issue again though. There must be more to this though as there was already another homebirth underway, there was only one on-call midwife and she was already at the other homebirth so why didn’t the parents come into the hospital?