Why there has to be change

As we continue to sit in the maelstrom of the one to one midwifery storm.  I remember what this should be about: not the egos, not the posturing for postion not the covering of backs, but the women who day in day out, week in week in week out need the nurturing care of a midwife, but who continue not to get it.

The CCGs tell us women that the advent of a new provider in Bradford and Airedale is a surprise, that they have never heard of one to one until now.  Here below is one of many letters written to the Commissioners last year asking them to seriously consider delivery of this model of care.

I have called it  ‘there has to be change’ because after listening to these stories you would have to agree . . there has to be change. And we don’t want to wait any longer because too many lives are being broken and damaged whilst people argue instead of taking action.  A simple action for you to take is to sign Airedale Mums’ Petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/593/491/398/support-one-to-one-midwifery-care-for-the-women-of-bradford-and-airedale/

From: ruth@aquabirths.co.uk [mailto:ruth@aquabirths.co.uk]
Sent: 15 September 2012 10:21
To: ‘Rashid Rafaqut’
Cc: ‘Hayward Ruth’
Subject: RE: One to One documents

Dear Mr Rashid,

Thank you so much for meeting with us a couple of weeks ago.  Forgive my tardiness in getting back to you: I work full time and this is a busy time of year.

I hope you have had a chance to look through the information sent through by Joanne Parkington, it would be interesting to know your comments.

In the meantime I thought it may be helpful to you to make you aware of some of the recent feedback on service I have which gives cause for concern.

·         On Tuesday this week I learnt of the experience of a woman in Your CCG area who had sat in a GP waiting room for an hour and a half only to find the receptionist had given her the wrong Midwifery appointment time, the receptionist laughed it off and did not apologise for the mistake and inconvenience caused.

·         On a separate occasion the same woman had a suspected urine infection and was advised to have it checked out immediately – she went to A&E at Bradford, sat there for 5 hours had to leave to collect her children, the staff told her to contact her GP, which she did the following morning.  The surgery gave her an appointment in a week’s time.

·         Her companion at midwifery appointments commented that language was not a problem because  the midwife hardly had time to speak to her

·         The woman wanted a TENS machine and very nearly did not get one because she was not given the relevant information ( see point above – and there seemed to be an assumption that a woman like her would not want one)

·         On Thursday I sat with a young mother – a really competent mother, third child but breast feeding for the first time.  A lone mother through very difficult circumstances that had also made her homeless 5 months ago.   She also has high blood pressure ( and no wonder with all that she has to cope with).  This woman needs extra care and support, and certainly if she is going to successfully breastfeed. The support and compassion may also calm the cause of her blood pressure. But I know she won’t get that extra  preventative care – only her blood pressure will attract the attention of the medical professionals – not her social and emotional needs as a young Mum.

·         On Tuesday afternoon I was rung up by a support worker for a local refugee organisation – could I help an asylum seeker, 38 weeks pregnant . . . .

It is tempting to go on, for this is the bread and butter of the stories I listen to week in week out  – and over the last few years.  This is why there has to be change – the current level of care paid for by our taxes is not delivering the quality of care it should.  If a group of midwives have demonstrated that they can deliver that level of care to tariff,  for the sake of the many women whose stories I don’t hear as well as the ones I do, I think we are honour bound to commission the people who really deliver the goods for the women and children of our city.

Our approach to you was not done lightly, it was done after months of research and discussions, backed up with years of grassroots knowledge of the maternity care women are actually receiving in our city.  We know this to be a big problem endemic in our system  with consequences in terms of high infant mortality, low breastfeeding rates, postnatal trauma and depression. We therefore need a big solution.  I would be letting down the women  whose stories I was part of this week if I did not advocate for a proper standard of statutory care within the NHS – and offer a solution to the provision of it within a tight budget.

For your information I also enclose a personal statement reflecting on my own experience of having five children in 10 years in deprived urban Bradford.

Every good wish

Ruth Weston