Bradford Telegraph Online
20th January 2009
Midwives appeal to help save lives
By Claire Lomax
Concerned midwives and mothers from Bradford travelled to Downing Street today
to present a petition demanding more midwives.
It was the culmination of a two-year campaign by Bradford organisation Midwivesonline.
The appeal, ‘More Midwives to Save Lives’, is backed by health
professionals and parents.
The 30,000-name petition calls for an additional 10,000 midwives to be trained
to enable every mother to have access to a midwife throughout labour and a named
midwife during pregnancy, birth and the post-natal period.
Midwivesonline, a midwife-led website for parents and health professionals,
based in Jubilee Mill, North Street, Bradford, started the campaign in response
to what it says is the Government’s failure to provide adequate funding
for midwifery services. A rising birthrate combined with a decrease in the amount
of midwives has left maternity services underfunded and understaffed.
Midwivesonline director, Catharine Parker-Littler, a midwife with 20 years’
experience, said: “The bottom line for us is that the Government has not
fulfilled its election campaign manifesto regarding the choice and quality of
maternity services and we have growing evidence of mums’ and babies’
lives being put at risk and this is unacceptable.”
She said third-year students at Bradford University felt very insecure because
in the last two years they have not been getting jobs. Mrs Parker-Littler said
she knew of a woman whose uterus ruptured during labour, but went unnoticed
because the midwife had failed to do checks.
The campaign has the backing of the Royal College of Midwives whose general
secretary Cathy Warwick said: “We welcome the petition and support Midwive-online.com’s
campaign and lobbying for more jobs for midwives.”
Parents supporting the campaign include Laura Miller, 34, of Idle, Bradford.
The mother-of-three believes a decline in the number of midwives impacted on
the care she received when 16-month-old son Charlie was born.
She said she built up relationships with the midwives with her first two children.
But when she had her third child she only saw the midwife a few times.
She said: “I really wanted to breastfeed but no one had the time to help
and I gave up. I am not laying blame on the hospital or the midwives, it is
just saying there is not enough midwives.”
Parents April-Joy O’Mahony and Lee Serrant, of Undercliffe, Bradford,
say a midwife shortage was to blame for a delay in their son Bentley Gabriel,
now four months old, being identified as small before birth.