A Midwife Between a Rock and a Hard Place and Told to Keep Quiet

A woman saying 'Shhh

Here’s the second of letters from midwives, I am so grateful to these midwives for speaking up, telling the truth and calling out our current shambolic maternity care system. This poor midwife was left to cope on her own and, worse still, was made to stay silent whilst struggling to provide the most basic of care to her caseload of clients… read on to see how she coped and to find out more about the campaign, click here.

 

“I love being a Midwife , it’s the best job in the world- but sometimes I feel like I can’t cope with the increasingly high expectations from women and the struggles and demands on the NHS. It’s so stressful some days trying to provide the great care that women deserve and fighting against the system. I’m a Community Midwife in a very affluent area, so I sometimes feel pressure to provide things that the NHS simply does not have.

For example, last year the GP Practice Manager told me to move out of the GP surgery immediately and run my antenatal clinic elsewhere as there was now no room available for me. The P.M didn’t care where I went she just wanted me out of the surgery to make space for a locum. (She’s known for being not a particularly nice character)

She said that pregnant women were not the GP’s responsibility?! They are the Health Board’s responsibility. I had a caseload of 90 women and no venue to see them.

I of course contacted maternity management straight away who also shrugged their shoulders and said it was ‘over their head’ and referred it higher. They said there was absolutely no room in the hospital for me to run my clinic from there.

I started looking on E-Bay and thought if worst comes to worst I could buy a van and set up my clinic from there.

I received a torrent of unhappiness from the women that the venue was changing and that I didn’t know where it was moving to, understandably!

I have a great relationship with the women and we communicate well, however things started turning sour when I had to tell them there is no clinic next week and I don’t know where the next venue will be.

The maternity unit told me to keep quiet about it, don’t give too many details to anyone or all the other Practice Managers would start asking the Midwives to leave the surgery to free up space too.

Eventually I found a local Community Hall with a spare room. I visited the venue on my day off with my toddler and 4 year old to check out the space. It’s not ideal (at all) but it’s available and has a bed and a sink. It’s somewhere I won’t be thrown out of at a moment’s notice! I’ve settled there now and the clinic is running well. However , I can’t begin to tell you show stressful it was being stuck between very disgruntled women and a health board that put all the weight on my shoulders to sort out – and I could NOT discuss with anyone else!

It was a really horrible time, but thank goodness behind me!”

Want to help to be a part of the change? Want to get involved? Want to prevent this from happening ever again? Here’s how-

  • Share this story with friends in real life and on social media, the more people that read these stories, the better.
  • If you’re a midwife reading this and you’d like to share your story- please either email it to me at chloe@doitlikeamother.co.uk or mail it to Mrs C Mulholland, Do It Like A Mother, 869 London Road, Essex, SS0 9SZ. 
  • If you’re a parent and you want to share your story- hop over to Make Birth Better and share it there. 
  • If you work in maternity services in any capacity, use this story to form conversations with colleagues and managers. Discuss it and examine whether any of this behaviour is occurring in your unit. Is this acceptable?

I really do believe that by sharing our stories and speaking up about the truth, we can really make an impact and change maternity services to work for both midwives and the families that we serve. We really can make birth better.

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