Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chickens and midwives but not in that order!

The day is drawing closer and it couldn't come fast enough in my opinion.

Today, Sunday, I had a list of things to do that needed doing, but as it's half term this week I don't feel so bad that I've put them on a back burner to write my blog - after all, that needs doing too ;-)

We've only got 8 weeks left in Edinburgh now and so finally we're starting to do pre-move panic! Okay, we're not exactly panicking but instead rather than me making lists and Mr Beehive doing his usual "Churchill" impression, he's actually starting to take notice and is currently beavering away at trying to find a flat and booking flights up and down from now until August!

I, on the other hand am sitting here flitting from screen to screen twixt a campaign I'm involved in and chicken coops and runs.

The chicken house seems to be the thing that has taken a priority at the moment, I have no idea why and I go between a large house and long run to a smaller house and a build my own run. I think I will go for the latter and then we'll allow them to free range too. However, like all things that have become "fashionable", there are now so many companies all selling similar products at varying prices with conflicting reviews and for my poor addled brain all this choice is proving too much. I think I need some help from any of you chicken owners out there. Post me your coop so I can see it please and let me know the pros and cons. Thanks.

The campaign on the otherhand is a little less conflicting. Basically the campaign is against a recent decision by the government to cut back on midwifery places at university. HERE

It seems simple enough, we're in the middle of a recession, we need to make cuts, let's cut back on training.
Well, that's all well and good apart from several things:
  • David Cameron originally pledged 3000 more midwifery jobs for an already overworked, understaffed NHS service.HERE and then HERE and HERE
  • Births in the UK will break the 800,000 mark this year. A down-scaled maternity service is ill prepared to cope. Midwifery staff moral plummets, litigation rockets but midwifery training places have been cut by 3.6%.
  • Of the number of students that get places each year, many will be lost to the lure of attractive packages in Canada, NZ and Australia or may even give up for numerous reasons.
  • There are birthing centres being closed all over the place due to shorfalls in the amount of staff available to work there and this will also have an effect on home births as midwives will be needed in the hospitals. Some birth centres are doing their best to reopen such as High Wycombe, but as fast as one re opens, another struggles and shuts.
  • Closing birthing centres has a knock on effect on birth outcomes for low risk women who will be forced to birth in high tech hospitals. It is a known fact that being in a hospital environment increases the risk that a woman will have a more medicalised birth. HERE and  HERE  
  • There is a higher risk of maternal and infant mortality if midwives are overworked and over stretched. Many midwives already work 12 hour shifts and often look after 2 or 3 women at a time.
 It's a really frightening reality. As someone who has worked in the USA where midwives are not utilised sufficiently and the majority of birth is managed by obstetricians in hospitals, I am only too aware of the costs that a c-section affords the recipient, the price of an epidural or forceps delivery. I am also very aware of the high maternal mortality rate in the US, often caused by complications and this is a country with high levels of medical intervention and a team of doctors running the show.

With an understaffed team, complications run the risk of going unobserved.
With more births in hospitals under the auspices of a doctor there are likely to be more c sections, and more c sections runs higher risk of post surgical complications.

No one in this campaign is saying that birth should be kept out of the hospital, no one is saying that there shouldn't be a judicious use of instruments for helping difficult deliveries, no one is saying that c sections are bad things.

We are saying that in order to keep birth normal, low risk births need to be with midwives, women need to choice to birth outside of a hospital environment if they choose, midwives should be able to offer continuous care.

Ultimately, in order to maintain a free National Health Service, it is about keeping cost low I'd have thought? If you can give a low risk woman an easy, cheaper safe birth at home or in hospital with a midwife, surely that's a tick in the "cost effectiveness" box? If I were David Cameron, that would be what I'd want to see on my spreadsheet thank you very much!

So please, if you are a midwife, doula, childbirth educator, have had a baby, are having a baby, will have a baby someday, have grandbabies, will have grandbabies or just think it's the right thing... show your support and follow this on Twitter  or Facebook

As Gandhi said and I quote over and over again;

A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history.

1 comment:

Apple said...

I am shocked and appalled that they are thinking of cutting midwifery places!

My local hospital is short on beds and midwives they always end up depending heavily on the assistants to take care of the women.

My midwife is so fully booked (for 3 weeks!) that she has been unable to see me at the surgery for the last 4 appointments. Luckily I am in the situation where I can wait in all afternoon on the afternoons she is on call.

Oh god it makes me so angry!