WI members lobby MP over need for midwives

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Three members of Winslow Women’s Institute met MP for Buckingham John Bercow on Friday, April 26, to lobby him on the need for more midwives.

Valerie Alsford, Sue Whiteley and Ellinor Salt, all from Winslow, met Mr Bercow at the Buckingham Hotel to seek his support in alerting the government to the problem.

The National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) is calling for the government to invest in the employment of more midwives.

And a research report, Support Overdue, was published jointly on Friday, May 3, by the federation and the National Childbirth Trust (NCT).

Mrs Alsford, who is a former WI county chairman for Bucks and still serves on the Current Affairs sub-committee for the county, said the WI had written to all six MPs for Bucks, and Mr Bercow responded by arranging the meeting.

She said Mr Bercow had been supportive.

“He sat and talked to us and made notes and said he would write a strong letter to the minister,” she said.

“We all came away pleased.”

Mr Bercow also requested a copy of the research report, she added.

Mr Bercow told the Advertiser: “I was delighted to meet with representatives from Bucks WI last week, at one of my regular constituency advice surgeries. The More Midwives campaign, which has been launched in advance of the International Day Of The Midwife on May 3, is a thoroughly worthy endeavour.

“I will shortly be making representations to Secretary of State for Health, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, on their behalf.”

Support Overdue reports on the real-life experiences of women giving birth in the UK.

The research found that 60 per cent of women are being let down without enough postnatal support. It examined the experiences of 5,500 women who have given birth in the past five years, with more than 4,000 of these births taking place in 2012.

Researchers found that women are not getting the support they need, while overstretched midwives are battling to meet increasing demands on their time.

Sixty per cent of women wanted more support with postnatal care immediately after giving birth, and 20 per cent of women said they did not see a midwife as often as they needed in the days and weeks after birth.

The federation says there are unacceptably wide variations in the quality and standard of care across different areas of the country.

Freedom of Information requests revealed that 67 out of 84 trusts did not meet the recommended staffing ratio in 2011, and many did not have plans in place to address their staff shortages.