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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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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Sun 8th Feb 2009 by Ben Palmer.
What a sorry state that we are being let down even before we are born. We have excellent midwives in this country, but give them a chance - there simply aren't enough.
BBC: Maternity units 'shut to mothers'
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Fri 6th Jun 2008 by Ben Palmer.
This morning I read the extract of Friday's Child, in the Daily Mail. It's strange, reading my words in such a condensed form. They are my words, and it is my story, but only such a small part of it.
It is humbling to read the comments people have left under the story, and so many. Really humbling.
The trouble with it being so shortened is that, inevitably, there wasn't room for many details, so it saddens me to be criticised, even ever so slightly, for not doing something that in fact we did.
We, Jessica and I, believed that she was being properly looked after and that we were doing everything right. We trusted the system to look after her, and when we were given reassurance, we took it and carried on. How I wish we hadn't.
That's all in the past, though. What matters is that it doesn't happen again.
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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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Wed 9th Jan 2008 by Ben Palmer.
The Daily Telegraph has a story today, Midwives struggle in labour ward crisis. The Evening Standard has also run it, Shocking figures show mothers and babies are at risk due to chronic shortage of midwives.
This isn't a new story, but the figures go on and on showing the crisis that maternity services are sliding into.
I'm just glad it keeps popping up in the news. If there's enough pressure on the government and their promises, they might one day be fulfilled.
I believe that one answer to Childbed Fever (amongst other issues) is to have midwives with enough knowledge, experience and time to be able to spot the symptoms before they can become life threatening. If there aren't enough midwives, that certainly isn't going to happen.
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Tue 8th Jan 2008 by Ben Palmer.
BBC South Today has tonight reported further in the aftermath of the two tragic deaths at The Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester.
The hospital has, to reassure its patients, implemented a screening programme for Group A Streptococcus, but it doesn't plan to continue with it beyond the short term.
So, is it just a PR exercise, or is this test an accurate and useful weapon against childbed fever (still nobody calls it that, it is still 'complications caused by...') There may 'only' be an average of six maternal sepsis deaths a year, but even one avoidable death is enough to warrant prevention, isn't it?
If the test is not accurate then why are they doing it? If it is not 'cost effective' to continue it or take it nationwide, does the NHS not consider what yet another death could cost it?
If there was anything that could stop mothers dying, surely a responsible government would want to implement it, when 30% of the population carry Group A Strep?
I hear so many stories from mothers who have only just survived a Group A Strep infection that, if the problem is not taken seriously, it will be a time bomb that we are sitting on.
If only infection rates were measured and not just deaths - this is a far more common problem than we are led to believe.
Watch the BBC's reportÂ
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