Write that letter!

Here I go again.  Cracked record time.  This is a summary of the key points I wanted to make at my recent meeting with local MP.  And yes they all look familiar, and yes it has probably all been said before.  But I am about changing the way the wind blows so I will say the same thing over and over again to anyone and everyone until that wind is blowing in the right direction.  I invite you all to do the same – copy my bullet points into your own letter, or make up your own and send it back to me. Please feel free to add them as comments on the blog here.

Those politicians in Whitehall, Town Hall, Foundation Trust and Maternity Unit need to be awash with the letters and emails of women and their families demanding the care we all deserve.  Yes write that letter . . . because we are worth it . . . and so are our daughters . . . .

The key issues that concern MSLC and its service user chair in Bradford And Airedale is the following:

  1. Lack of midwives – one to one midwifery care or at least continuity of midwifery care is shown by all the research to be key to maintaining normality through pregnancy and birth (which reduces obstetric costs), increasing breastfeeding, reducing postnatal depression, increased customer satisfaction with their care and experience generally
  2. Midwives are the key professional contact for pregnant women and their families, it is they who have the expertise and knowledge to help women make informed choices for their care etc – it is not GPS – as the Kings Fund report acknowledges.  The Government policy for restructuring of the health service should develop and enhance this role.
  3. In this context we are concerned about reports that Maternity Services will go into the GP commissioning structure.  Our evidence shows that certainly in this district the interest and expertise of the GP’s do not lie in Maternity Services.  Midwives are the key professionals here.  We think it would be a retrograde step (so much so that a visit to an MP was necessary)
  4. We are very concerned at the briefings we have received about the GP consortia being formed to take over the PCT function in the next 18 months in this district.  Particularly that there is no director being proposed for Women’s and Children’s Services.  This is an indicator perhaps of the GPs’ current focus and expertise in this area.
  5. We want to be assured of the national commissioning body for  Maternity Services and would like to know as soon as possible the proposals for taking this forward and how it will work.
  6. As the service specification for the area is being finalised, recognising the standard of care should be at one to one midwifery care, and that Maternity Matters implementation requires a choice of birth places and care patterns eg homebirth, birth centre, community midwifery model, and recognising that this standard is currently not being met within the NHS at all, we would like to see service provision opened up  as per the white paper to enable all willing providers to bid for service provision.  We note that there are providers waiting in the wings to fill the gaps in service provision here and we are eager to take things forward but need Government policy and structuring to support that – eg through the national commissioning body, and through an enabling insurance regime for midwives not employed directly by NHS

Hope these points help.

Every good wish

Ruth Weston



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