There is a big shortage of midwives in the UK. A shortfall of nearly 2300. Shocking?
Births on the other hand are at a 40 year high. Something doesn’t make sense.
Government cutbacks and promises which haven’t been carried out are to blame.
As someone who has spent a LOT of time in NHS hospitals over the past year being looked after by overworked, over stretched and tired midwives I can tell you who suffers – the mother and of course the child.
On numerous occasions during my pregnancy I was in a hospital bed for sometimes 6-8 hours without any offer of a drink or food. One day I was almost administered somebody else’s medicine as the midwife (in her own words) was in a tired daze.
After giving birth and at a time when postnatal care is SO important I had to wait over 5 hours for overdue pain relief, I had a pretty bad birth, my pain was intense and my emotional state wasn’t great.
Do I blame the midwives? No. As frustrated as I was at the time I could see that the staff just had too much to do.
When staff are tired and working too hard then mistakes are mad. Cases of medical negligence are on the rise and its all too easy to see how it happens. £22.7billion was set aside in 2013 to cover medical negligence claims.
On the third day after Chloe was born, an important error was made. A member of the nursing staff recorded her temperature incorrectly and because of this she was cannulated and prepared to receive antibiotics. Cannulating an infant is not a simple process. In fact it took 3 Doctors and 1 midwife and 1 special light ( as her veins were too small) over 2 hours to complete it. I had to leave the room, it was an extremely upsetting experience for all of us.
Chloe just after being cannulated:
When the Doctor and Midwife came to apologise to us for the mistake that had been made, my reaction was relief. I was upset that she had to go through it of course but there was nothing wrong with her. I was thankful. If a mistake had been made that resulted in a negative outcome it would have been a different matter.
More staff are needed. It’s essential. You only have to read this story in last weeks Independent from a midwife who is retiring to understand how hard this profession is becoming.
Breastfeeding issues, postnatal depression and infant illness could be picked up at an earlier stage with staff who have more energy and support.
The midwives I did have personal dealings with were lovely, supportive and knowledgable but I know that the way they do their jobs could be so much better if only they had one important thing ..time.
Happy faces after finding out Chloe was ok and we were able to go home 🙂
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