Weep for the babies, mums and dads affected by the Shrewsbury Baby Scandal.
Have sympathy too for all the midwives and doctors and neonatal nurses, most of whom tried their best against the odds in tough unwinnable circumstances.
Don’t just mourn. Organise for a better health service. Demand that the Government fund maternity to world-class standards. Recruit and retain more midwives and obstetricians
The apologists for cuts in NHS funding and services have used a thousand sugared words and phrases to disguise the damage done, created dozens of fads and fashions to disguise the damage. The language used in reports by the NHS is opaque and coded. Austerity cuts to the NHS have been fatal. Panorama tonight made that clear about maternity in Shropshire. That said, there were many management faults, and doubtless faults by those on the front line as inevitably there will be. The point is to learn from those mistakes, but that was not done.
Jeremy Hunt MP, Health Secretary at the time, said yes the NHS was underfunded, understaffed but some hospitals managed! What he neglected to say was that it was inevitable some would fail.
The Panorama report on maternity in Shrewsbury Maternity Unit was so very sad. Save Liverpool Women’s Hospital Campaign is for all our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and lovers and for every precious baby. We have been campaigning for maternity safety, for additional funding for maternity and for far more midwives and obstetricians and access for all mothers and babies to safe surroundings and access to emergency care.
We are waiting to see the final Ockendon Report on Shrewsbury.
We also champion our NHS staff. The years of underfunding could only end this way. Hunt was allowed to say without challenge that the service was underfunded and that it caused problems, but he will not take the blame. This tragedy is far far more his fault than of any midwife.
Let’s be clear, both natural/vaginal births C-sections, planned and emergency, must be available. Making a low level of interventions a core success criterion did not work, but that does not justify refusing women natural childbirth. Both need to be available and both need extra staffing.
For a decade maternity has been underfunded, understaffed, treated disrespectfully by the government and some management. Overworked staff, deprived of respect, not listened to by management, will make mistakes, sometimes appalling ones. Some staff like all humans make their own mistakes but the culture of underfunding and bullying plays a huge part. Midwives must not be the fall guys. Join us in our campaign for better maternity services, for women to be heeded and treated as full partners in their care.
A big cheer for the mum who spoke about the damage to her vagina during birth and how she wanted other women to know they are not alone.
We will write more on this in the next few days.
Meanwhile don’t forget to stand up for a fully funded, fully staffed NHS at events across Merseyside this Saturday 26th February The nearest to the Hospital is at the Top of Bold Street by St. Lukes steps at 11.30am.
For all our mothers, sisters, daughters, friends, and lovers, and for every precious baby.