Mon 4th Apr 2011 by Ben Palmer.
Some very bleak reading, particularly in light of the recent CMACE report, Saving Mothers' Lives 2006-2008 which tells that sepsis now outranks evenÂ pre-eclampsia and eclampsia as the leading direct cause of maternal death. Deaths due to sepsis haveÂ risen from 18 in 2003-05 to 26 in 2006-08* - a staggering 44%.
Is it any wonder that we have headlines like this one:
British maternity wards in crisis - Health News, Health & Families - The Independent.
*Â Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE). Saving Mothersâ€™ Lives: reviewing maternalÂ deaths to make motherhood safer: 2006â€“08. The Eighth Report on Con?dential Enquiries into Maternal Deaths in the United Kingdom. BJOG 2011;118(Suppl. 1):pp36.
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Thu 16th Apr 2009 by Ben Palmer.
With a weariness I read today yet another story about midwifery staffing levels falling short of the number requiredÂ for the government to meet it's own declared standard of care.
BBC: Midwife numbers 'to fall short'
I've said it before, and I expect I'll say it again; please look after our mums properly. The fact that the government thinks that this is one ofÂ the safest countries in the world to give birth (actually, it's one of the worst in Europe) is no reason to spread maternity care too thinly.
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Fri 10th Apr 2009 by Ben Palmer.
I've been away from here for a little bit too long, with school holidays, work etc. I've also been concentrating on micro-blogging.
Just the other day I discovered that Sarah Brown had joined Twitter. As well as being Mrs G. Brown, she is a strong advocate of women's health in the developing world. Knowing this, I 'followed' her (on Twitter this is a very non-stalking thing to do) and sent her a link to this website. She thanked me back, and I thought nothing of it until today.
I have just been sent a link to a story in the Technology pages of the Telegraph: Prime Ministerâ€™s wife joins Twitter which says it all. What great publicity for Jessica's Trust!
Sarah Brown does great work for www.whiteribbonalliance.org, www.millionmums.org and www.mothersdayeveryday.org. I hope she realises that too many mothers die in this country as well, but she hasn't yet signed my petition to her husband, although you can.
Thank you to @StudyingOnline and @marketingwizdom for drawing it to my attention.
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Fri 13th Feb 2009 by Ben Palmer.
From the Nursing Times today:
In the Gwent Healthcare NHS Trust, 'earlier identification of deterioration, or better advance preparation to manage identified risk, may have averted the deaths'.
Link to article: NHS trust apologises over 'exceptionally high' maternal deaths
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Tue 3rd Feb 2009 by Ben Palmer.
Jessica's Trust needs your help
Please sign our petition
We have started a new petition on the Downing Street website, asking the Prime Minister to...
"...ensure that every new mother has regular observations recorded on a Modified Early Obstetric Warning System (MEOWS) chart in hospital and in the community and is given clear information and advice on the recognition of childbed fever (also known as puerperal fever and genital tract sepsis) and that doctors and midwives are given clear sepsis guidelines."
This petition will remain open for 9 months.
However, please sign our petition now, with one name per line - signing as 'Mr & Mrs Smith' will only count as one signature! Every British citizen or resident can sign if they have a unique email address.
When you have signed please remember to click the link in the confirmation email you will receive, then pleaseÂ share the link to this page with anybody who you think might like to sign it as well.
For more information about the petition, childbed fever, MEOWS and Jessica's Trust please read our website.
Online donations and fundraising
Since becoming a registered charity, we have partnered with Justgiving.com to allow us to receive online donations.
All money donated or raised through sponsorship will enable us to continue raising awareness of childbed fever through printing and distributing leaflets and posters, running our website and striving to achieve our aims.
Keep up to date with our work
Bookmark our website or join our update list to keep abreast of what we're doing.
Thank you for your help. Together we can make a difference.
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Sat 10th May 2008 by Ben Palmer.
I had a letter from my MP yesterday. I'd had a meeting with her a while ago, and we've exchanged several letters and emails. She, along with other parliamentarians, is committed to helping Jessica's Trust, and wrote to Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary to ask for a meeting. His reply was attached to the letter.
Although he didn't say yes or no to the meeting, his letter was encouraging: pointing out that I had already met with the National Clinical Lead for Maternal Health and Maternity Services, had had a productive meeting and have an open line of dialogue.
What was really encouraging to hear, on headed paper, was that "We value highly the work of Jessica's Trust" and that he hopes that the Trust will "play an even greater role in reducing the number of deaths from [childbed fever]" based on the existing relationship with the Department of Health.
I'm encouraged as this is a much more positive governmental acceptance of the need to do something about childbed fever than I have had to date. I believe that there is the desire for change, even if it is taking Jessica's name to achieve.
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Thu 1st May 2008 by Ben Palmer.
Back in January, I wrote in the blog about Screening for Group A Strep (GAS). Since then I have thought about it a lot, and discussed it with various medical professionals.
I am convinced it is a worthless exercise. Worse than that, it could be dangerous. Why?
A woman can be colonised with GAS at any point in her life*, let alone in her pregnancy or puerperum, so all a test would do is say that she does or does not carry the bacteria at this very point in time.
What if she was colonised the day after the test? She would have been given a false sense of security by a negative result. If GAS was only introduced some time after delivery, and it caused a genital tract sepsis, the last thing on her mind would be childbed fever, because she was 'clear'.
It is of far more value to skip the testing and instead take every woman's temperature and pulse regularly in the days after delivery. Then tell her about the condition and how to recognise that she might have it. She must also be told of the vital importance of being seen, swabbed and treated if infection is suspected, before her health and her life are in danger.
* up to 30% of us may be carrying Group A Strep in our throats or on our skin
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Thu 31st Jan 2008 by Ben Palmer.
Jessica Tate has been pregnant since 2004 and has been examined by countless student midwives.
She is a computer based training package, created by two midwifery lecturers from Swansea University, Susanne Darra and Marian Mclvor.
The project has just won an award at the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) sixth Annual Awards Ceremony, and there is a plan to roll Jessica out to other universities.
It is a genius project, and although Jessica Tate's pregnancy is 'normal' there are just a few minor warning signs thrown in. Susanne Darra, one of the programâ€™s authors, says, â€œThere is a big issue in the western world with â€˜problemâ€™ births and it doesnâ€™t have to be like this. We have a strong trend to alert people to problems, but most of the time things turn out fine.â€
If only Jessica could develop a fever and a rash, a few days after being discharged from a normal delivery, then she could be a really powerful teaching aid.
External Link: Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Sixth Annual Awards
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Wed 30th Jan 2008 by Ben Palmer.
BBC NEWS | Health | 'No plans' for migrant birth rate
The government should have done more to help the NHS cope with the increase in foreign-born mothers using maternity services, the Conservatives say.
How can the government keep saying that they are working towards having a named midwife for every mother, when the number of midwives is so low? 36 midwives per 1,000 births are required, yet the average is only 31 and it is as low as 26 per 1,000 in some NHS Trusts.
If the birthrate continues to rise (whether caused by immigration or not) then maternity services are going to be even more stretched unless this vital area of care is properly resourced. There is no way that any midwife can provide the recommended level of care if she is spread amongst too many mothers. That is the case in hospital and within the community.
CEMACH recommends* that 'routine observations of pulse, BP, temperature, respiratory rate, and lochia should be made in all recently delivered women for several days postpartum' and yet most women are turfed out of hospital within a few hours, and often receive only one or two visits from a midwife in the community. How is anyone going to spot the signs of serious illness?
* Saving Mothers' Lives 2003-2005, p102
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Thu 24th Jan 2008 by Ben Palmer.
As you may know, Lord Darzi (leading surgeon and Department of Health minister) is two thirds of the way through his review of the NHS. He is examining eight clinical pathways, Maternity being one of them.
There is a consultation across the UK about Primary Care (GP) services today, but there is also an online questionnaire for the public which runs for another month. (There is a separate survey for NHS staff.)
Short on opportunity to comment directly on maternity services, the questionnaire is nevertheless an opportunity to have a say in the NHS - that's what it's all about: 'Our NHS, our future'.
It's a fair bit longer than our own survey, but it only took me about five minutes to complete, so if you can spare the time...
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