Natural childbirth lobby putting babies at risk, warn parents

Medical students find it difficult to get meaningful access to pregnant women, and even harder to perform deliveries. The “protection” that the midwives offer to patients is worse for male medics than for female, but exists for all. As more women have fewer children at an older age it gets more risky… It is safer to concentrate care… Junior doctors are being deskilled in Maternity… and this needs to be reversed.

Chris Smyth reports 20th April 2017: Natural childbirth lobby putting babies at risk, warn parents

Babies are dying because maternity services have been “hijacked by militant natural childbirth promoters”, bereaved parents claim.

An investigation is under way into a cluster of baby deaths involving the same avoidable mistake by midwives at an NHS trust that has been accused of being “in denial” about repeating the error.

Campaigners say the failings illustrate broader problems of a “deep-rooted ideology” in midwifery that prioritises “normal” childbirth, without medical intervention.

Last week Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, ordered an investigation into seven avoidable baby deaths in two years at the Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.

Five of the deaths involved failure to monitor the baby’s heart rate properly and regulators will look at whether the deaths were investigated properly to help avoid repeating the problem.

The deaths took place between 2014 and 2016. The parents of Kate Stanton-Davies, who died at the trust’s Ludlow community hospital in 2009, said action should have been taken long ago.

An independent review concluded last year that Kate’s death had been avoidable but the trust “abdicated its responsibility” by failing to investigate properly.

“What these deaths show is that this trust is in denial and from what they are saying they honestly don’t believe there is a problem,” Kate’s mother, Rhiannon Davies, said. Deaths include those of Ella and Lola Greene, twins who were stillborn at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital after delays in spotting heart-rate deterioration.

A baby’s brain can be starved of oxygen if doctors do not hasten birth when its heart rate deteriorates, causing death or brain damage. The Times revealed two years ago that a quarter of NHS maternity negligence payouts involved such failures, costing the health service £268 million in 2015.

Ms Davies said: “This is not just about how a heart monitor is used, this is all about a top-down toxic culture. As well as understaffing there is a seeming disregard for mothers’ wishes during childbirth. The midwives’ role has been hijacked by militant natural birth promoters. They are not listening to mothers’ concerns and are pushing for natural birth at any and all cost. Babies are dying . . . because of the agenda.”

Midwives are taught to encourage women to have “normal” births, without anaesthetic, forceps, induction or caesarean. Many such births happen in midwife-only units or at home.

A major review concluded the practice was generally safe but two years ago a review into the death of 11 babies and one mother at the Morecambe Bay trust condemned midwives’ pursuit of natural childbirth “at any cost”.

James Titcombe, who pushed for that inquiry after the death of his son Joshua, said the events at Shrewsbury and Telford “have all the hallmarks of being another Morecambe Bay”.

The trust declined to comment yesterday.

Image result for maternity  cartoon

If maternity care is getting riskier, it seems safer to concentrate it..

Short journeys become longer: 40% of maternity units are inadequately staffed (and some are so old they need replacing).

This weeks rationing. The elderly, Maternity care and IVF. Abolish the Welsh Assembly?

“Reducing the ratio (of maternity staff in Surrey) to balance the books is the worst of all decisions.”

Its the start that matters. Maternity and child care is important and plans to fund child care will help… but “Britain has one of the lowest breast-feeding rates in the world, with only 50 per cent of mothers managing it for six weeks”

This entry was posted in A Personal View, Stories in the Media on by .

About Roger Burns - retired GP

I am a retired GP and medical educator. I have supported patient participation throughout my career, and my practice, St Thomas; Surgery, has had a longstanding and active Patient Participation Group (PPG). I support the idea of Community Health Councils, although I feel they should be funded at arms length from government. I have taught GP trainees for 30 years, and been a Programme Director for GP training in Pembrokeshire 20 years. I served on the Pembrokeshire LHG and LHB for a total of 10 years. I completed an MBA in 1996, and I along with most others, never had an exit interview from any job in the NHS! I completed an MBA in 1996, and was a runner up for the Adam Smith prize for economy and efficiency in government in that year. This was owing to a suggestion (St Thomas' Mutual) that practices had incentives for saving by being allowed to buy rationed out services in the following year.

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