Posts Tagged ‘Royal College of Midwives’

Breastfeeding vouchers for new mums

Wednesday, November 26th, 2014

4,000 new mothers in the UK will be offered shopping vouchers if they breastfeed their babies, as part of a full-scale trial. In a pilot study involving over 100 Mums in Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, two thirds of women who signed up to the scheme were claiming the vouchers at six to eight weeks, a breastfeeding rate higher than the national average.

Ladies taking part in the trial received up to £200 to spend at shops such as John Lewis, Matalan, Argos and big supermarkets if health professionals confirmed they were feeding their babies breast milk. Researchers hope the scheme will boost Britain’s breastfeeding rate, improving children’s health and cutting costs for the NHS. The World Health Organisation recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed until the age of six months, but only 1 per cent of British babies meet this target.

What are the pros and cons of the scheme? It’s reported that some NHS staff are uneasy about “bribing” mothers, saying they should be offered support instead of cash. Cathy Warwick of the Royal College of Midwives said “Incentivising public health behaviour through monetary reward will always be contentious. However, the RCM believes that alternative ways of increasing breastfeeding rates also need attention.”

Some mums stop breastfeeding for circumstances they feel are beyond their control (not producing enough milk to satisfy baby, or because of exhaustion breastfeeding can lead to if unsupported, for example). This in turn can lead to some new Mums feeling guilty that they are no longer breastfeeding- will this be compounded by feeling that they are now missing out on vouchers?

On the other hand, the financial incentive may increase breastfeeding rates, which must be a good thing overall- certainly the case study suggests this willl be the case.

Where will the money comes from? Would the money be better spent on breastfeeding support services? Why are the vouchers not available to spend in independent local shops? Why should only the ‘big’ businesses benefit from the increased purchasing power of these parents? For example, new Mums wouldn’t be able to use their vouchers to buy a Baby Feed Wheel to help keep track for their baby’s feed times from Chiggs or from one of our lovely independent stockists, so they would miss out on this useful piece of breastfeeding assistance!

Midwife strike

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

Midwives have voted to go on a 4 hour strike on the 13th of October. The dispute, which is over pay, will be followed by a period of action short of a strike, which is likely to involve staff refusing to work unpaid overtime.

The Royal College of Midwives said midwives will still be there for women giving birth, and only ante-natal and post-natal appointments will be affected by the strike which starts at 7am.

82% of RCM members voted in favour – the first time they have ever been balloted on industrial action. As well as voting on a strike, just over 94% said they were in favour of industrial action short of a strike. Nearly half of midwives eligible voted in the ballot.

Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, which has 26,000 members, said: “This is a resounding yes. It could not send a clearer signal about the level of discontent on this issue.

“The RCM will be meeting with employers to discuss our action and to ensure that mothers and babies are not put at any risk. I want to reassure women expecting a baby that midwives will continue to look after them and that they will be safe. “

NHS to filter out pregnant smokers?

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

I read in The Times newspaper this week that the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice) has recommended that midwives give women a carbon monoxide test in early pregnancy, to establish whether they are smoking or not. Apparently not all Mums-to-be  tell the truth about giving up smoking in pregnancy! The test will be a breath test, and women found to have high carbon monoxide readings will be referred to “smoking cessation services”.

Some members of  The Royal College of Midwives, however, are not keen on the idea, and The Times reported that a source said they feel such a test could damage  relations between women and their midwives. Cathy Warwick, chief executive of the RCM, said the test could help show women the potential damage to unborn babies, but said the final decision must lie with the woman.

What do you think? A sensible measure to try to reduce the 21% of women who smoke during pregnancy (risking low birth weight and associated health problems) or Nanny State gorn mad?

Midwifery services may be “pushed” according to the Royal College of Midwives!

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013

The Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has warned that maternity services in parts of the UK are being ‘stretched’.

 The second annual State of Maternity Services report, published yesterday, says a baby boom in England (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have slowed down somewhat),  means that the birth rate in England it now stands at it’s highest level since 1971.

Coupled with a national shortage of midwives, some maternity services are struggling to provide the service they would like:-According to the report, 20% of  women did not feel supported by the NHS during their pregnancy and birth, while 40% of women had always seen a different midwife during their most recent pregnancy.

It’s not all bad news,  the report highlights that as in some areas the baby boom has run out of steam, Scotland and Northern Ireland have no overall shortage of midwives, and the shortage the report identifies in Wales should easily be eliminated.

One way the gap in maternity services may be filled in the near future, is by an increase in the number of newly qualified midwives. Anglia Ruskin University say it has had an 11% increase in applicants for the BSc (Hons) midwifery course with, they say, many applicants citing the BBC TV programme Call The Midwife as their inspiration. I can’t help but think that someone considering a career in modern midwifery might want to use Channel 4’s One Born Every Minute as a point of reference, rather than the more romanticised 1950’s Call the Midwife version of the job!

The report from The Royal College of Midwives itself is really interesting, and can be read here.