Saturday, 15 December 2018

Mothers in protest at threat to midwives

SIX mothers from Henley are to join a demonstration in London calling for the protection of independent midwifery.

SIX mothers from Henley are to join a demonstration in London calling for the protection of independent midwifery.

Independent Midwives UK, which has been running since 1985, cares for women who are deemed “high risk” and have been refused home births or natural births by the NHS.

But an inability to secure commercial insurance means that from October, independent midwives will not be able to practise outside the health service.

On March 25, women from across the country will march to Westminster as part of the Choose Your Midwife, Choose Your Birth campaign.

Among them will be Emma Taylor, 38, of Western Avenue, Henley. Her daughter Lilia, three, was born at home in July 2009 but she would be unlikely to be allowed another home birth because she has been diagnosed with a blood-clotting condition.

Mrs Taylor said: “I wanted to have my baby at home because birth is not an illness and I could think of nothing nicer than having her at home, having a shower in my own bathroom and getting into bed with my husband.

“Doctors like to doctor but I had a textbook natural birth, which was a great experience. I was very lucky to have that.

“I am now in the high-risk group, so if I had another baby it might be a bit of a challenge for me to have a home birth.

“The NHS is not very keen on home births for things like breech births and multiples or anything that is slightly out of the ordinary.

“They would prefer to deal with that in a hospital setting but it seems such a shame to prevent women from choosing and I do not think the option should be taken away by others.

“The woman-centred, gold standard level of care provided by independent midwives will be inaccessible to women birthing their babies unless their midwife is prepared to act illegally.

“This is an unacceptable situation. I am extremely concerned about the impact this will have on women’s very basic right to choose the birth they want.

“This is something important and worth making a stand for. It is going to become illegal if something is not done, which just seems crazy.”

Mrs Taylor, who will hold a meeting with Henley MP John Howell in Westminster, will be joined by other mother after posting a message on the Henley Parents’ Group website.

A statement on the Independent Midwives UK website says: “Currently there is no professional indemnity insurance available to independent midwives, which means we are personally liable for any negligence claim made against us.

“Some commercial cover was available until 2002 but the premiums kept escalating, despite an excellent claims history, until an annual premium was around £20,000 per midwife.

“As this was more than many independent midwives earned, most were forced to make the difficult decision to cease practising or practise uninsured.

“There is no insurance available to either independent or employed midwives that will pay out if ‘things go wrong’. Insurance is there if medical negligence is proved against a practitioner having or not having insurance does not mean that your care is any safer.

“IMUK is campaigning to ask the government to find a workable and affordable solution.”

To join the group, call Mrs Taylor on 07799 413 903.

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