1,000 signatures reached
To: Jeremy Hunt
Evidence not Prejudice: Deliver Better Births
The weight of EVIDENCE supports normal physiological birth as the safest birth for most women.
The evidence shows the importance of midwives in delivering evidence-based care to women.
The Dept of Health's OWN policy, Better Births, is about delivering evidenced based quality maternity care.
Therefore, we demand that Jeremy Hunt publically:
commits himself to evidence-based care, and working with midwives and the RCM to deliver quality maternity care for the best outcomes for women and their families.
Why is this important?
A group of mothers and midwives who care about quality maternity care have come together to start this petition.
Last week, the major newspapers all ran high profile stories saying that Midwives were no longer supporting 'normal' birth, portraying it as a climb down. Midwives were attacked for 'pushing normal birth at any cost' and the support for normal birth was even linked with 'unsafe' care and neonatal death in the Times leader.
We were also appalled to find Jeremy Hunt's tweets supporting this line and complimenting a prominent campaigner against 'normal' birth.
These stories were damaging to women's choice and the work of midwives in delivering evidence based care. Moreover, they were contrary to the evidence and inaccurrate.
The Birthplace Survey looking at 65 000 births showed that midwifery-led environments delivere safe care to mothers and babies and better outcomes for low risk women and babies. Only 57% of Low Risk healthy women have a normal birth in an obstetric led unit. All midwifery led environments ensure over 80% of healthy low risk women have a normal birth. Midwives deliver choices and quality of care - Better Births recognises this and wants all healthy women to have access to midwifery led care environments.
The Lancet Series is internationally acclaimed research looking at the importance of midwifery care in a range of environments across the world. Midwives deliver safe evidence based care to all risks of women in a range of environments and improve outcomes in doing so. This is the evidence and it needs to be recognised and acknowledged by Jeremy Hunt to ensure that women have access to a midwfe they know and trust to support them along their maternal pathway.
Better Births is about delivering quality maternity care to all women and their families whatever their situation. It is not about delivering normal birth to every woman and baby. Women of all risks need good quality care and especially those struggling with physical and mental health challenges. The attacks on midwifery do nothing to ensure high risk women and babies receive the care they need - midwives are an important part of care for high risk women and babies too.
Finally anyone who knows anything about anything knows that the biggest cause of infant mortality is poverty. By contrast evidence shows continuity of midwifery carer helps reduces miscarriage, premature birth and still birth rates. It is time that this was publically acknowledged by Jeremy Hunt and others.
Jeremy Hunt should have been aware of all this when he was tweeting and discussing maternity in public and we as mothers and midwives are very disappointed at his lack of understanding, and his lack of commitment to evidence-based care. We are disappointed at his casual attitude to midwives who seek to deliver quality of care and choice to all women. We are also concerned that his expressed opinion demonstrates a lack of commitment to delivering Better Births that will ensure the majority of women have access to the midwifery-led care that maximises their chances of having a safe normal birth and beyond. A normal birth remember, is by definition, the safest birth you can have.
Jeremy Hunt, we ask you to stand with evidence-based care and the midwifery profession. And to publically commit your Government to delivering on the recommendations of the National Maternity review in Better Births. We commend this petition to you.