Frontline midwifery posts to go at Plymouth - midwives' union challenges plans
- Published on Friday, 24 June 2011 15:09
- Posted by Scott Buckler
A decision to cut midwifery jobs and community midwives’ hours in Plymouth to save money is being challenged by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) (June 24th)
Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust plans to cut 63 community midwives’ hours by four hours per week. This is the equivalent of losing nearly 7 midwifery posts. These midwives provide homebirth and antenatal and postnatal care in the region and the RCM says there will be an impact on the care women receive.
The Trust is also planning to cut a number of midwifery posts including an infant feeding co-ordinator, with up to 9 midwifery jobs set to go. The number of midwifery community team leaders could fall from 6 to 4, and the hours of a child safeguarding midwife may be reduced by half.
The community teams will also be reduced in number from four to six meaning they will have to cover a much bigger area and they will be less accessible for the women. It will also result in the midwives spending more time travelling and less time with mothers.
Pat Darvill, the RCM’s regional officer for the South West said, “The jobs that could go and the midwives in the community are key frontline posts and reducing hours is ultimately the same as scrapping jobs. We are not against change and efficiencies, but they have to improve the service women receive. These proposed changes will not do that and I have real fears that the level and quality of the service for women will worsen. It will mean less choice for women because fewer midwives will have to do the same amount of work.
“The area’s birthrate was going up and births are becoming more complex, yet the Trust cut midwifery posts. There is a well used homebirth service provided by the community midwives and there will be many women out there expecting a homebirth service. These plans mean they may simply not get one along with the other key services that the midwives provide.
“We will work with the Trust to make efficiencies and utilise the staff in the right way. However, this way is not the right way and we will be challenging these plans and working with our stewards and members to show the Trust the utter folly of their proposals. It is a short-sighted and backward step.”