Pregnant women neglected by NHS
06 October, 2014
The Daily Mail reported that, amongst the shocking revelations, the most alarming news was regarding the amount of new mothers who were, in some cases, entirely neglected by their midwives.
New mothers abandoned in labour
Investigations took place into the level of care new mothers were receiving, with a quarter claiming that midwives were not present during their labour or were left alone waiting, in some cases, hours to receive pain relief. In some circumstances, women found themselves abandoned in hospital corridors to give birth on the floor.
The reports have revealed that these shocking occurrences were not rare and in some circumstances would take place as many as five times a week. With public confidence in the NHS already at an all-time low following recent revelations that the hygiene and level of cleanliness in the average GP’s office was well below par, with reports that some consulting rooms were found to have a maggot infestation.
Other worrying results
The Care Quality Commission headed up the recent investigation into the standard of care into maternity units. Overall, the survey revealed some alarming results regarding not only the level of care that new mothers received during birth, but the poor response to their complaints.
According to BBC News, half of those taking part in the survey said that they did not use the pain relief they had originally planned to use, in some cases this was due to the lack of time. However, most prevalent theme in the complaints made were that their birth involved poor pain management, a poor level of cleanliness and hygiene, and many new mothers feeling bullied over breastfeeding.
In circumstances where women had opted to give birth at home there proved to be numerous instances of midwives failing to turn up at all.
It would appear that these recent revelations have a come about following years of cover-ups. “In the past there has been a systematic cover-up and a desire for issues not to blow up on your watch,” said Tory MP Steve Barclay. “Politicians have been scared to raise issues and nobody dared criticise the NHS. But the public are well ahead of politicians and they’ve suspected problems for some time,” he continued.
Many believe that the poor level of care is due to the shortage of midwives. While there are currently a total of 21,000 midwives in England, a rise of 1,200 in the last two years, there is still a significant shortage owing to the highest birth rate since the 1970s.
The Royal College of Midwives believe that the country is falling short by as many as 4,800 to sustain the proper level of care in hospitals.
“The survey shows that the NHS continues to fail too many women,” said Cathy Warwick of the Royal College of Midwives. “It sets out yet more evidence of the real-life and disheartening effects on women of the shortage of midwives. How many more flashing red lights do we need?”
While the investigation has certainly discovered some notable improvements since the previous survey in 2010, it is evident that more work needs to be done to give new mothers the care and attention they need during labour and child birth.