Ian Payne is Leading Britain's Conversation.
As a new survey shows that more and more are leaving the midwifery profession, this caller’s experience shows just how bad things have got.
Bringing a baby into the world and looking after the mother should be one of the most important and protected jobs in healthcare, but it seems working conditions are intolerable.
Julie was a nurse and midwife but has now left the profession after spending “two years in abject terror that everyday I went in, something was going to go wrong.”
“I was left in charge of women who had just delivered babies, and who had potential haemorrhaging issues, and also have to look after a woman who was in active labour at the same time.”
Julie explained that such demands, which would see her running between rooms trying to provide care for both, were “becoming a regular occurrence.” She talked of doing shifts where she would find herself trying to look after 38 women and 38 babies having only been on the ward for two weeks.
Julie found that working an extra five to seven hours a week was not unusual and breaks were virtually non-existent.
“I would be walking down a corridor with a cup of coffee and literally, that would be my break.”
“How can you sit in the staff room and have something to eat and drink when you know there’s no one outside covering your ladies?”
The problem lies in a lack of resources that Julie says have dwindled as budgets have been cut, and Julie suggests this has been allowed because it doesn’t affect the politicians making the cuts.
Unsurprisingly the stress of being so critically responsible for so many became too much, and Julie, who loves nursing, is now emigrating to be a nurse in New Zealand early next year because, as she says, “I can’t work in a system that’s going to put people in danger and me be responsible for that.”