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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.

 

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So, the petition regarding the Maternity Services is well underway and now has nearly 1,000 signatures, here’s hoping that it works.

When you go to the petition page you can click on signatures and here people have left comments, and for this midwife they make sad reading. For years now I have felt like a voice in the wilderness, whingeing away about the maternity services, bemoaning the midwife’s lot and warning about how stretched the service is, this afternoon I read many other midwives viewpoints, and I felt unbelievably sad, I was right and I really wish I hadn’t been. The words were so familiar ‘ midwives leaving in droves’; ‘midwives need more support’, ‘women and their families suffer’, ‘we need to stop the system falling apart’ and then the succinct  ‘the service only survives on the good will of front line staff to go above and beyond, a good deal of luck and a vast amount of prayer! while management appear to work on the basis that if no complaints role in, who cares how the work load is being managed, but when they do it is the individuals who get hauled over the coals to be paraded before those who have complained to show that the matter has been dealt with. midwives need help and support. i have been qualified for nearly 10 years, and cant wait to leave the profession – i love being a midwife, i hate the politics, lack of staff, lack of support, lack of equipment and the expectation of the management that we will do what it takes to get the job done, not what we are paid to do.’

The organisers of the petition are trying to publicise it, apparently ITV Daybreak are interested but are checking with their lawyers (?) to make sure they are safe to run with it. The TV also want, understandably, to interview midwives, so far there are no midwives leaping up to appear on telly, I wonder why.

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The Midwife has launched her petition about the UK maternity services here and this is what it says –

Demoralised, powerless, overworked, scared and ignored……. Five words one should never need to hear from Midwives.

So why is it that more and more Midwives in the UK are feeling this way?

In the UK the role of the Midwife is being stretched to such an alarming
length that many feel something soon will snap and none of them want it
to be on their shift! Valuable, experienced and amazingly talented
midwives are leaving the profession because they feel they are treading a
very fine line between life and death.

This isn’t an over dramatisation of facts this is how the system is currently….. and yes we mean currently in 2010 not 1810!!

Midwives expected to care for more labouring mothers than is recommended,
Midwives working past their salaried shifts, Babies and Mothers left
unchecked because there simply isn’t anyone to check them, basic human
needs such as refreshment and comfort breaks are being scrapped because
quite simply…. if the Midwife leaves to have her break there would be
no one to care for the Mothers & Babies!

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) estimates that an extra 5,000
midwives are needed in England alone simply to offer a basic standard of
care.

“If it is a system failure then if anything goes wrong the Midwife will be covered”

Not according to The Nursing and Midwifery Council [NMC] code which says: As
a professional, you are personally accountable for actions and
omissions in your practice and must always be able to justify your
decisions.

Anyone that has tried to blame the system will know… it isn’t easy.

“So tell someone up top!”

Indeed… it also states in the NMC: You must inform someone in authority if you experience problems that
prevent you working within this code or other nationally agreed
standards. You must report your concerns in writing if problems in the
environment of care are putting people at risk

 This has been done by countless Midwives and it is apparent that no action is being taken to improve things.

“Why don’t they go on strike?”

Well that would be a start, that would be one way of bringing the public
awareness to a slippery slope situation. But here’s the spanner in that
work…. Midwives are not permitted to strike or rather they are but are
bound by their duty of care codes.. see NMC code reference above!

“OK so how can we help?”

Sign this petition to show that you would like to see a major overhaul of
the Maternity Care System especially the working conditions, patient
safety and rights of the Midwife.
Also in the comments please let us know if you would be willing to take part in a peaceful protest in London next year.

The UK Maternity System needs reviewing
urgently to ensure the safety of Mothers and Babies
 
Just to point out, I am not ‘The Midwife’. Wish I was and hope that she is rather more successful than I am in bringing to the political fore the abysmal state of the maternity services.

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I am full of hope, yes me, Mrs Doom and Gloom is being positive. Why is this strange feeling being allowed to grow inside this miserable being? Well, an M.P, David Amess has made a call for more midwives citing an admission from the Prime Minister ‘ that the profession is stretched to breaking point, overworked and demoralised’. Yeah, we might actually be on the agenda now, is that what having all three major party leaders in the child-bearing epoch of their lives will do for the maternity services?

More exciting for me is a Facebook site, The Midwife. I’ve been following her for a while now, often laughing at her take on labour ward life and the midwife/medic relationship but last week, during an interchange about the firemans industrial action, the subject of midwives and their concerns came up. Commentators questioned how we could bring about an improvement in the maternity services via industrial action. Working to rule, striking, marching on parliament and petitions were all mulled over, the pros and cons discussed. Midwives will not strike, it would be just as difficult to work to rule, we may detest the fact that we frequently work hours over our contracted hours without pay but many of us would be unable to actually ‘down tools’ at the end of our shift if there were still women and babies requiring our care. With those options ruled out it looks as if we will protest and seek support via an on-line petition. As yet ‘The Midwife’ and her helper (not a midwife) have not gone live with the petition, and we don’t yet know the content or format, but rest assured, as soon as it is published I shall be linking to it.

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