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Hello!

It’s been a long, long time since I last blogged. Many reasons for this including two new jobs, one new Grand-daughter and work being absolutely manic. The two new jobs are both midwifery related, but non-clinical and I’m still a community midwife, so my hours have now doubled! The latest addition to our family was born in May, quite the most traumatic of all the grand-children’s births, but at least the outcome was a live Mum and baby. Have to look on the positive side. The work that has been manic? Community. There have been more and more changes to how we are able to provide care and the end result has been that 4 midwives, out of a team of 8, have left. 1 handed in her notice one day and went off sick the next, and has stayed off sick for the entire 3 months of her notice period. They are all younger midwives with years left before retirement, 2 have left the profession entirely, unable to face the prospect of continuing and being unable to provide the quality of care they would like to. Drastic action, and really leaving the women and their colleagues in the lurch, but these midwives were not only disillusioned but also incredibly stressed.

The family are all well. The Grandchildren are all growing-up and are all such individuals, even the twins. I still look after the twin boys and their sister after school 2 days a week, but now it’s for only one day a week during the school holidays. Lots of juggling commitments and using annual leave is involved but really worth it to be part of their growing-up.

I’m off now. One more day at work and then 5 days off. I’m so looking forward to it. No getting up at ungodly hours; no dreading the phone ringing in the middle of the night; no piles of paperwork and no realising every morning that there are not enough working hours in a day to complete all the work.

Have you heard of this? Please, please sign it.

Recruit 5000 more NHS Midwives, an e petition to HM Government.

What with One Born Every Minute and Call the Midwife, midwives do appear to be very popular at the moment. Call it a busman’s holiday but I do watch both programmes. With OBEM I find myself shouting at the TV, ‘Get her off the bed’ being the popular refrain, but then occasionally there is a wonderful example of how well a woman’s body works and how supportive a midwife can be. Call the Midwife is just a lovely drama. Yes, there are many details which are not quite accurate but who cares when you are taken back to a much simpler time and midwives are depicted being ‘with woman’ rather than ‘with paperwork’. I have to admit to shedding the odd tear at the end of every episode but it did gladden the heart.

Me as a midwife? I’ve settled into my new role and have now reached a point where I can really enjoy it and as a result of this new found enthusiasm I have taken on another role until they have recruited a permanent body. It is only an extra 5 hours so, during term time, it’s not too problematic. Not sure how I will fare in school holidays but with a little juggling it should be okay. Community is as demanding as ever. Not the women, a pregnant woman or new Mum varies little. Okay, so they have far higher expectations than say 10 years ago, but most do acknowledge that it’s not the workforce’s fault that demand currently outstrips resources and so will take gripes higher up the ‘food chain’.

The family are all well, now. Louis had pneumonia, overlooked by the GP and, as she was also suffering with the flu bug, happy that Lou was not causing her any trouble and reassured by the GP’s assurances that it was a virus, by his Mother. Fortuitously I went round to administer TLC and take Lou off her hands and realised that her son was entirely non-rousable not just sleeping. Thankfully 2 days in hospital quickly saw him fit, well and full of beans. Son, who has an ileostomy, caught Norovirus from his youngest and ended up in hospital with severe dehydration. 5 litres of fluid later and he was well, although whilst monitoring him they found a ‘cardiac anomaly’, plus he has been told that the next part of his bowel surgery is urgent and he is dithering about having it done as their next baby is due in 10 weeks. The timing is rubbish, as it was when he had the initial operation, but hopefully he has learned from his previous procrastination, accepted that delay did no one any good in the long run, and will have a constructive discussion with the surgeon on Tuesday.

Note to self; make time to blog, it’s good for the psyche.  

For some unknown reason I had imagined that as the years passed I would find myself myself slowing down and having more ‘me’ time. I don’t know where I got that idea from but I was really way off the mark, my life now is full of commitments. When I increased my work hours I knew that my life was going to need to be strictly organised and that I would need to be religious in using a planner to ensure that all my duties slotted into place. What I hadn’t allowed for was Hubby doing his back in so badly that he couldn’t help out when the going got tough, in fact he became yet another commitment. Anyway, so what with juggling 2 jobs; 1 incapacitated husband; household tasks; gardening and 7 grandchildren I have found little time to blog.

Today, today has been declared an ‘I have no intention of doing anything that I don’t want to do’ day. Yes, I will be working on 2 databases but that is my choice, sort of, because if I don’t get on with them I will look a right idiot on Monday when I have to present the results of an audit. They are work but there is not enough time to do them during work hours and staying late at work would not help with the production of these beasties because, if you are seen then people feel they have to interupt you, plus it prompts them to dump more c**p at your door. Strange mentality in the NHS, perhaps everywhere, I don’t know. If I noticed someone having to work late, and over their hours, to complete a job then I would acknowledge that they had too much work. I may not be able to substantially reduce it, but I would definitely not go giving them more to do, where I work the opposite appears to be the case.

Work. The cut-backs continue, the unhappiness of the midwives and the women increases. We have just passed through a huge baby influx and it appears we should be back to normal levels until December when there is another little blip. May/June next year are bumper months which was unfortunate as the booking of these women co-incided with the bumper crop of newborns, making a double whammy for community midwives. I’ve had a couple of exciting call-outs requiring me to accompany women on blue-light transfers. In both cases the women were not in danger but the transfers were in the rush hour so 2’s and blues were used to reduce delay. One woman had rocked up at the wrong place in quite advanced labour and had received no antenatal care at all, was newly arrived from an African country and spoke no English. The other had turned up at a clinic, having taken her own discharge from hospital 2 days previously, and her blood pressure was through the roof. With the first lady I saw very little of the journey as halfway to the obstetric unit she started to make the sounds you associate with pushing so I was kneeling on the floor next to her trying to convince her with body language that she should breathe, breathe. I was also sliding up and down the ambulance as it braked for which I bore the bruises for quite some time, but which did make her laugh between contractions. As I was safely strapped in with the second transfer I had a wonderful view of the ‘Moses’ effect i.e two streams of traffic parting to allow the ambulance through. I also witnessed how stupid some drivers are, one even trying to outrun the ambulance, the paramedic told me that is not unusual. Unbelievable!

Work, job number 2. The job is thought provoking and challenging, however my dealings with HR and payroll have been even more thought-proking and challenging. After 3 months of being relaxed about not being paid, no contract etc. I lost my calm, laid back demenour and went for the throat. I have recollections of uttering such blasphemies as ‘grievance’, ‘union’ and then the ultimate ‘I’m stressed’. It does seem to have worked in that I received lots of back pay 2 weeks ago, I eagerly await the 24th of this month. Who is behind this bungle? A totally US manager, even more US than my other manager, in fact so US that my community manager is now beginning to take on the mantle of the most amazing manager, ever.

Home. Well Hubby had to be carried off the golf course after resurrecting his old back problem. He was in agony and was unable to feel anything down one leg, from his buttock to his little toe. G.P? Anti-inflammatories, this was a phone-call trige because there were no appointments and it wasn’t considered urgent. 4 appointments later, when I dutifully waited outside, and 7 weeks later, I marched into the consulting room with my drop-footed, unable to walk properly husband and waited until the G.P had told my husband it ‘would take time’, and ‘at your age’ (58) whilst staring intently at his computer screen, not even shifting his gaze when husband demonstrated the extent of his ‘dead’ leg, then I waded in. ‘What’s the diagnosis then?’ Still not looking away from the screen the doc responded with ‘Well, it’s possibly the same as he had before’. ‘Sure of that are you? Are you not concerned that previously the symptoms were not as severe but that he did require surgery?’ Oh yes, then I had his attention. A withering look was sent in my direction. ‘We could try physio, but it would possibly be a waste of time’. ‘It may well be a waste of time but now we are at the point where this is having a detremental effect on our lives. My husband has his own business and is unable to work. He can do nothing, not even pick up his grandchildren. So far you have done nothing, not even attempt a definitive diagnosis. I am thinking MRI to rule out a problem which, rather than resolve, could get worse.’ Over to the G.P, ‘Well the wait for an MRI is about 6 weeks and it may be better by then.’ I am surprised that he didn’t push the emergency button at that point because I erupted. A verbatum transcript is impossible, mainly because anger and indignation took over, but the essence was that if they hadn’t waited so ******long already he would now be having his MRI and physio and we would know what we were dealing with and, just because you are only just out of short trousers, don’t regard anyone who has grey hair as too old to spend money on. Now pension ages have been changed everyone else, except NICE and NHS choices, thinks we have at least 10 years of productivity ahead of us, so don’t dare write my husband off. Hubby now has his physio and MRI appointment.

The grandchildren are all well, and growing but of them are growing quite as quickly as grandchild number 8, who is currently nestled in DIL’s womb and scheduled to appear at the beginning of May. Yes, another one. See below for how the others have grown.

 

Well. My update is complete. My databases call. Firework night looms and Christmas lurks.

Recruit 5000 more NHS midwives in England

Responsible department: Department of Health

More babies were born in England in 2010 than in any year since 1972, whilst births to women aged 30 or older were at their highest since 1946. The NHS is desperately short of midwives, and the shortage affects every region of England. We need urgent action from the Government, including a target to recruit the equivalent of 5000 more full-time midwives. Care for women but especially babies at the very start of life should be shielded from the cuts.

This is an e petition to H M Government. I would have worded it differently, but there again I am a simple being who would just go to the heart of the problem. The whole world, literally, interprets the current staffing issue within the maternity services as being down to a shortage of  trained midwives but that isn’t the situation, there are plenty of us. The issue is the employment of midwives, and the crux of the matter is funding. The Trusts are having to budget so harshly that coal-face staff numbers are being trimmed to below the quick, and not just midwives, other professionals as well. We do need to recruit more midwives but to do this we need to improve the funding, be shielded from the cuts yes, but also improve the monies available to the maternity services, not for paper-shuffling exercises but to employ more midwives.

Anyway, here’s the link, it can’t do any harm so please sign  the e petition here.

 

Google Chrome

My wonderful ex-BIL has solved my computer problems, again. It turns out that IE was not happy with WP but, luckily, Google Chrome is up for the task! These computer thingys are weird, why did IE on my laptop make my blogging impossible whilst on a desktop it was happy to co-operate?

Trial

Still not managing to publish anything other than the title so have decided that this may be te way forward, no nonsense, no pictures, just writing. Lets see if this tactic is anymore successful

Awakening

This is less an entry and more an attempt to put work-life into perspective. It would easier to hide my head in the sand, bury myself deeper and deeper, and I have been trying that tactic, but avoidance is not my natural behaviour and just results in tremendous unease. I could continue to deceive myself and make believe that all is well, after all I have managed to keep my council on the RCOG calling for more women to be cared for in MLU’s; the ‘riots’, some other interested party wanting more obstetrically, trained physicians and the BBC’s Panorama programme about the midwife shortage, but a silly little incident has spurred me out of my silence.

Why am I in such a slough of despondancy? Well, the miasma of NHS bureaucracy has finally overwhelmed me, I am entirely embroiled in the totally mad maze of management which consticts every aspect of being employed in the health service, and it is frustrating me beyond belief. I am terrified that I could well give into panic if I don’t get a grip on all the ends which are snaking
around at will, needing to be organised, needing to all join up. The maze is constantly causing me to bang up against seemingly inpenetrable, prickly hedges so I backtrack and try another route, wasting more time and energy, only to meet another vicissitude.

I don’t want to be a manager in the NHS, I can’t imagine why anyone would want to, it’s a thankless task. Yes. There are too many managers but it’s all do with the way the NHS has developed, it strikes me that everything is kneejerk rather than planned by individuals who understand how the whole organisation functions. Nothing is radically re-organised, rather, another side-shoot is
grafted on to the already overburdoned branches. The new little side-shoot is given it’s task and it happily thrives, initially. It receives adequate nourishment and produces acceptable fruit. After a while the environment changes, the nourishment is rationed slightly but demand for it’s product increases. Initially the side-shoot responds by exploiting it’s reserves but they are limited and soon it displays signs of weakness. What to do? Look for stronger branches to share the workload, perhaps form a framework, no, just graft on another shoot to further drain the whole organisation.

Don’t expect any of this to make much any sense, it makes no sense to me so why should any innocent, who has never really experienced the NHS, understand this rambling. Many have tales of their encounters with the NHS, those at the receiving end, patients, or clients as we now have to call them, let me assure you working for the NHS is no bed of roses either.

Anyway, where was I? I don’t want to be a manager, but I do really, not for ever, or even a month, just a day would probably allow me time to formulate a structure which would enable me to work logically and efficiently. Mind you, the Trust Board would need to be disempowered during my frantic reorganisation, because I wouldn’t have the time to wait for them to rubber stamp my decisions, and I would need to be able to command co-operation from other drones but, given those criteria, I would be flying.

I’m just going around in circles. My new job is an absolute, organisational nightmare, I keep taking 2 steps forward and one step back. I have 2 different managers who act as if they function within 2 different organisations, although we all work within the maternity sector they carry seperate budgets, which they guard ferociously this impacts adversely due to others not appreciating that I cannot cross theoretical boundaries. I can’t go into detail so it possibly sounds as if I’m making a mountain out of a molehill, maybe I am but that molehill is wrong-footing me, constantly.

As if the actual working maze is not frustrating enough there is also the minor fact that, 3 weeks after I started my new role, supposedly on a contract, my new manager confessed to me that she hadn’t gone through the right process so Ihave been working on ‘bank’ since I started. I’m just wondering if this is a double-edged sword as it does mean that I could walk into my new managers office and tell her to stuff the job. The trouble is that if I can create logical working pathways the role is one that I would love.

 P.S I’m still having real problems posting anything other than the title and category. Wrote this last night but it has taken me hours, literally to post it and it’s still a mess. I give up!