Monday, 19 March 2007

Happy Mothers Day?

Well, another Mothers Day has been and gone. I actually had the day off for a change so was able to put my feet up and read the papers from beginning to end. What a luxury but not a lot of cheering news to read especially relating to the world of women and midwifery. Once again, women have become victims of being another disadvantaged group with the Government giving notice that all health practitioners will be required to carry professional indemnity insurance. Private midwives have been without this insurance since 2002 when the last company providing this pulled out. Despite this, independent midwives have grown in number and are providing care that women want and in all fairness need – the NHS is unable to provide this kind of care which is totally woman centred and has been proven by research to lead to a higher rate of normal delivery without any intervention. If the Government is unable to let midwives be exempt from this law, then independent midwives will not be able to practise any more which will be a tragic loss to women. The NHS is currently not employing any more midwives due to financial restraints and the maternity services are groaning under the increased work load and are certainly not able to meet the needs of women in a satisfactory way.

The Sunday Times had an equally depressing article on the poor care that women receive in maternity units and women report feeling like ‘pieces of meat on a conveyor belt’ and being looked after (if that is the right word) by ‘uninterested, mechanical, unfeeling midwives’. I suspect and indeed I know, that midwives feel and appear like this because they are treated themselves like ‘pieces of meat on a conveyor belt’ with management breathing down their necks to do more work with less time, less resources and less support. They are also constantly victimised and bullied by the powers that be to make sure that they don’t put a foot wrong and heaven forbid use their own initiative in making decisions about the care for the women they are looking after - after all this is why a midwife trained for 5 hard years to do – become a practitioner in her own right. Now even this is being eroded by the heavily policed risk strategy structures that are in place- yes- to protect the public but it has gone so far now that midwives practise in a climate of fear and litigation which binds them to Trusts policies and procedures and turns them into uninterested, mechanical, unfeeling practitioners who are unable to give midwifery care. Now this ethos is infiltrating into the Independent Midwives life which will prevent them doing the same and stifling women’s choices even more.

This kind of feels like a conspiracy and history repeating itself in that the battle for the control of childbirth still continues with the patriarchal forces at work again and all to the detriment of women and midwives whose position in the work place echoes the position of women in society.

Please sign the E petition on line from Downing Street lobbying the government to stop this nonsense and allow midwives to practise as they should.

No comments: