Mum-to-be praises ‘understanding and supportive’ midwives despite coronavirus uncertainty
PUBLISHED: 15:49 29 March 2020 | UPDATED: 16:20 29 March 2020
David Jones/PA Wire/SUZANNE DAY
A pregnant mum from Suffolk said she feels empathy for midwives during the coronavirus outbreak – as union leaders warned maternity services must be ringfenced to ensure women get safe care.
Suzanne Day, already mum to five-year-old Rosie, praised midwives involved in her care for how understanding and supportive they have been, despite going through uncertainty about how their job roles might be changing.
A rollout of national NHS guidelines this week means mums-to-be are no longer able to bring partners along to scans, and visitors cannot stay with them in hospital after their baby has been born.
Suzanne’s comments come amid a warning from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) that a shortage of midwives has worsened since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, and is likely to increase as it continues.
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“I actually feel really sorry for midwives at the moment – mine have been understanding and supportive even though they are going through a lot of uncertainty about how their job roles might be changing over the next few months,” she said.
“And they are having to reassure mums-to-be and explain to them why their partners can’t attend scans with them and why they can’t stay with them in the hospital after their baby has been born.
“At the same time I am sure they have fears about going into people’s homes – it is not a job where you are able to keep your distance.
She added: “Because women will not be able to have their partners I think there will be more pressure on midwives and the healthcare assistants working with them.
“If a new mum is feeling unwell or recovering from surgery it is likely midwives and healthcare assistants will need to give them more emotional and practical support, such as changing nappies, preparing feeds and so on.
“Which might mean they will need more staff on the wards.”
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In a small-scale survey of 69 UK heads and directors of midwifery, 22% reported that local midwife-led maternity units had closed, the RCM said, while 36% said home births had been restricted or stopped.
Gill Walton, RCM chief executive, said: “While other areas of the health service can postpone and cancel procedures, there is still an ongoing need for maternity services.
“Women are still pregnant, still having babies, and they need the care and support of properly resourced maternity services.
“We have to ensure that midwives and maternity support workers are ringfenced from any redeployment to ensure that women continue to receive safe care.”
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Government officials said more than 38,000 former healthcare professionals and soon-to-be qualified students could join the fight against Covid-19 in the coming weeks.
More than 5,600 nurses and midwives responded to the ‘Your NHS Needs You’ recruitment drive, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock added: “I’m so proud that since our rallying call, 38,000 more people will join or return to the NHS as health and care workers on the frontline fighting Covid-19.
“Our NHS is facing an unprecedented challenge and I pay tribute to each and every one of them helping battle this virus.”
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