Better conditions needed for midwives in NHS

Independent Midwives UK (IMUK) are concerned about the recent report in the Independent newspaper entitled ‘Who would be a midwife?’ IMUK believes that such stories are increasing in frequency and may lead to a reduction in the numbers of practising midwives and diminish faith in an ‘under-resourced system’.

IMUK spokesperson Virginia Howes said: “Independent midwifery is not the type of private care such as is described in the article. It is not about luxury surroundings and aesthetics. It’s about good, safe continuity of midwifery care which puts the women, rather than the organisation, at the centre of that care.”

At a time when there is a deficit of around 5,000 midwives, independent midwives are one of the very few groups of midwives able to deliver on all of the government’s pledges in its manifesto ‘Maternity Matters’, and they are about to be made illegal.

As a part of their campaign to save independent midwifery and women’s choice, IMUK have unearthed figures pertaining to midwives registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council but not practising. They have also been contacted by many midwives who would return to the profession if they could provide the type of care independent midwives currently offer; one-to-one, evidence-based, women-centred care.

Howes said: “For how long have the midwives, the women and the Royal College of Midwives got to keep telling the government that maternity services are dreadful before something is done about it? The service is not about women and babies anymore, it’s dangerous and we face the situation getting worse because there are not enough midwives. I would rather work in a supermarket than risk my own physical and mental health by working in the NHS, not that I do not believe in its principle of free care at the point of delivery because I do, but I could not deliver safe care working under those conditions, I totally understand why midwives leave.”

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