Thursday, 12 April 2007

Mrs. Hewitt writes again

Patricia Hewitt writes today in the Guardian that the Guardians previous claims (April 7th, Birth Care is unattainable) that the NHS has too few midwives to achieve even basic levels of care for women as untrue. Oh, if only that was true! It’s a shame that Mrs. Hewitt is no longer at the age when she could possibly be on the receiving end of maternity care. If she was, then she might be writing a very different kind of response to the one she has just written today. It is very easy to quote facts and figures and percentages – and yes they may be right but the truth is that the maternity services are very badly neglected in terms of funds and resources.

When is she going to take her head out of the sand and really look, listen and take on board what every maternity unit and every midwife in England are telling her? There are not enough midwives to fulfil the promise of every woman having a named midwife to look after her by 2009 – in fact, at this rate, there will not be any midwives by the year 2009 because they will either have left the profession, gone on long term sick or died. Yes, the work force is now an ageing population and with no young, bright midwives to carry on the line where will the profession be?

In the past two years, no recently qualified midwives where I work have been given jobs. The senior midwives posts have been reduced. The majority of the midwives work part-time because of either home commitments or they just can’t take the fast and furious pace of working long shifts without a break.

Perhaps Mrs. Hewitt would care to come and work with me for a few days and see for herself just how hard the labour government’s promise is going to be to fulfil – no, on second thoughts- she would not be able to stand the pace – haven’t got time to look after anybody else on a busy shift!

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