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Nottingham’s maternity services need to improve – and we need answers

todayApril 4, 2022 2

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Today Nottinghamshire Live joins parents and people across the city in calling for a public inquiry into maternity services at Nottingham University Hospitals Trust. As journalists we are the first to admit that sometimes we’re in a bubble. We write about issues that might not affect us, and rely on others to trust us and tell us their experiences.

But the parlous state of maternity services at Nottingham’s QMC and City Hospitals is something that affects not only the women who give birth there, but their families, friends and colleagues too – not to mention the staff in the wards. We all deserve better maternity services, and we should not be afraid to call something out when it’s not performing as it should be.

The NHS has been idolised over the past few months, with any criticism seen as attacking something we should all love unconditionally. It’s this kind of atmosphere that makes it difficult to speak out when things aren’t good. There are some fantastic people in our NHS who change lives every day, but it’s time now for us to say: NUH, this isn’t good enough.

READ MORE: Ockenden maternity findings go ‘much wider’ say Nottingham parents’ solicitors

We stand with our readers who are calling for a public inquiry into maternity services here in Nottingham. Women and their birthing partners need to know they’re going into a safe environment and that they’ll have the best experience possible. At the moment this can’t happen.

We’ve heard the harrowing tales of people like Sarah and Jack Hawkins , who lost their daughter Harriet after a five-day labour at City Hospital. Of Natalie and Dave Needham who lost their son Kouper, Sarah and Gary Andrews and their daughter Wynter , plus many more.

I am a mum of two boys myself. I had both my children at QMC, although I live a 45-minute drive away. I opted for QMC as opposed to a hospital nearer to me because I thought it could provide better care if I needed it. If I was pregnant again now, I would not be making that choice.

Both my children were born healthy which I am grateful for every single day. But I think it’s important for women to speak up about their birth experiences so we all know what goes on in the labour ward. My first child was born face first and I lost a significant amount of blood because a part of the placenta broke off. A crash team had to step in and stabilise me, while my newborn son was screaming in a cot at the end of the bed.

I have never written about this before – but it shows that even in births where you think everything will be fine, where everyone seems healthy and low risk, things can still go very wrong in a matter of minutes. As women, we need to know that we are in the best possible hands at all times.

That trust is important. If psychologically a woman in labour is fearful, or anxious, that can affect levels of the hormone oxytocin and impact the progress of the birth. This affected my second birth experience, because I was terrified it would all happen again. It nearly did, but staff intervened quicker and I avoided a second transfusion.

There are other people in the Nottinghamshire Live team who have had bad birth experiences at our city’s hospitals too. We all want this to change and it’s our job as the city’s main news website to amplify the voices of those who have suffered, and hold those responsible to account.

We all know midwives work hard to do their best for the women and babies in their care – I will certainly remember mine forever. But they can’t be expected to carry on in the circumstances they currently work under.

Change is drastically needed in the labour ward, and it’s not happening quickly enough. To those in charge at Nottingham University Hospitals, please act quickly, for all our sakes.

Written by: thehitnetwork

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