Government report: UK midwives put the lives of mothers and babies at risk


I’ve been writing about this topic for years, from Promoting normal birth is killing mothers and babies to, only a few days ago, In the UK babies continue to die on the altar of vaginal birth,

Along the way I’ve written about the preventable death of baby Joshua Titcombe and his father’s heroic efforts to make sure no one else endure the grief he and his wife were forced to endure. And I’ve reported on the strenuous efforts of UK midwives to avoid accountability, In the face of staggering death toll head midwife relentlessly promotes normal birth, and the staggering increase in obstetric liability costs as a result of bad outcomes.

The government of the UK has finally taken notice, producing a report that is scathing in its assessment of midwives:

The Health Service Ombudsman examined the supervision of midwives after a series of reports into a scandal at University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay Foundation trust involving the deaths of 14 babies and two mothers.

It accuses the midwives in failing to carry out even basic monitoring and then attempting to avoid reponsibility for maternal and infant deaths:

The damning report is fiercely critical of subsequent investigations into the deaths by the trust and the local health authority – which it found guilty of “maladministration” for failing to properly probe the deaths.

Under the current NHS system of regulation, local midwives in were asked to investigate their peers following a series of deaths at Furness General Hospital.

Despite clear evidence of serious mistakes made, they found their colleagues did nothing wrong.

There were long delays investigating the deaths, and failures to highlight obvious lapses in care – such as babies not having their heart rates monitored and not being given antibiotics despite being very poorly, the report found.

The report entitled Midwifery supervision and regulation: recommendations for change is restricted to strengthening the weak oversight of UK midwives that allows them to ignore mistakes, fail to learn from them, and avoid accountability.

As if on cue, the Royal College of Midwives promptly moved to avoid accountability and maintain supervision of a system that could not prevent, and has not learned from, multiple maternal and infant death:

RCM chief executive Cathy Warwick said: “Midwifery supervision is a statutory function, is highly-valued by the midwifery profession and, indeed, has been the envy of other professional groups. It is impartial, in that it does not represent the interests of any service provider.”

“In many maternity services, the supervision of midwives can and should make a significant contribution to the protection of women and their babies,” she said. “It is very important that the long-term consequences for high-quality maternity care of further changes are very carefully considered.”

She added: “We must be extremely careful not to lose sight of the benefits of midwifery supervision; we could be in danger of throwing the baby out with the bath water.”

Bravo, Cathy Warwick! Thanks for demonstrating the point of the report: midwife regulation and supervision must be changed because midwives are interested in protecting each other and avoiding responsibility and give woefully short shrift to their legal and ethical obligations to mothers and babies. QED.

The purview of the report did not extend to investigating underlying causes that led to the mistakes themselves. I suspect that the underlying causes are an unholy marriage between the midwifery philosophy and the government’s desire to save money by hiring midwives instead of obstetricians. These midwives are well educated and well trained, but they subscribed to a thoroughly unethical (not to mention scientifically unsupported) elevation of process above outcome. No doubt they’ve decreased the rate of interventions and C-sections. As a result, they have inevitably increased the rate of senseless, easily preventable maternal and infant deaths.

The “Campaign for Normal Birth” benefits midwives, and kills innocent women and children. It must stop immediately or more lives will be lost in UK midwives’ relentless attempts to promote and protect themselves.