The freestanding Jubilee Birthcentre in Hull is to close. IN the light of the birthplace evidence this is bad news and short sighted, the cost benefit anaysis given in the Birthplace study makes it difficult to see how it is justified. Government and regional health authroities should have policies of building birthcentres rather than shutting them, and making them default places for low risk women to attend, rather than the curent system where the default even for healthy women with no issues is an obstetric unit.
Here is the link to the news. Below that, is an insightful comment by Professor Lesley Page, responding to the disappointment of local midwves in this region.
Lesley Page says: I think we need to re frame this. First it is definitely short sighted when birth centres are closed, particularly given the current problem with our low normal birth rate and high intervention rate. I am always so sorry to hear about these closures. The financial arguments for closing rarely take into account the reduced costs of interventions financially and on women themselves ( and their families).Often the staffing could be made more cost effective. But, although we should be realistic it is important not to be pessimistic. What we have to do is alter the view point-we are in the beginning of a paradigm shift, and although some birth centres are closing there are more, I believe, than a few years ago. We are all leaders and here is what we have to do-really talk to women and their partners about why out of hospital birth should be considered seriously, tell them about the hormones and effects they have.tell them about the risks of unnecessary intervention. For the development of midwifery we need to have confident midwives support those who need to increase confidence. Make birth centres as cost effective as possible. This by: possibly creating caseload practices around them,and making them development areas for midwives to learn from each other, skills, tips, latest research, how to stay competent and confident. Birth centres should be part of the rotation for new midwives and all midwives should be encouraged to work in them for a while. Lets make the culture in them buzzy and dynamic where midwives and others talk to each other about and evaluate how we make birth normal and safe, and how we can make midwifery fulfilling for us midwives. Evaluate methods such as hypno birthing in the birth centres. The future is too important to be pessimistic-and I sense there is a change-it wont happen overnight-so lets hold onto that future. www.lesleypage.net