Jump to Main ContentJump to Primary Navigation
Top

You need to read this NHS midwife’s powerful apology letter

iStock-508288522.jpg

It’s no secret that the UK is in the midst of a midwife crisis. Just last week it was announced that more UK midwives are now leaving the profession than joining it. A recent study, meanwhile, has found that this chronic shortage has had an overwhelmingly negative effect on their birthing experience: the majority of women in labour have said that they feel unsafe, frightened, or as if they are being treated “like cattle”.

Now, in a powerful post on thebirthhub.co.uk, one midwife has decided to reach out to these women and say sorry.


Read more: In the midst of a nursing crisis, a nurse reveals what it’s really like to work for the NHS


In the open letter, the midwife – who has chosen to remain anonymous – apologises for the fact that clinics are running over due to staff shortages, that so many women are forced to see a different midwife at each appointment, and that she only has the time to “offer advice and support in two minute snippets”.

“I’m sorry that I see so many women on each shift that I sometimes forget your name and end up referring to your bed number,” she adds. “I swore I would never reduce women to numbers when I was a student.”

A group of nurses gather outside the Department of Health on the NHS's 69th birthday to protest against the pay restraint and urge the Government to lift the 1% pay cap on the health service staff

A group of nurses gather outside the Department of Health on the NHS's 69th birthday to protest against the pay restraint and urge the Government to lift the 1% pay cap on the health service staff

The midwife goes on to apologise for not being her “usual, patient, smiling self”, explaining that this is due to the fact that she is sometimes “so exhausted” that she is “unable to mask” her own tiredness.

Above all else, she says, she is “sorry that the failings of the government to adequately fund and support the NHS means I’m often too stretched and stressed to give you my absolute best.”

And yet, despite all of these regrets, the letter ends on a beautifully empowering note.


Read more: Here’s what our health service looks like to an outsider


“I care,” says the midwife. “I care about you, even when I’m not able to adequately show it.”

She goes on to call upon women everywhere to remember that “midwife means ‘with woman’” and that they need to remind the government of this “millennia-old partnership”, before their “historical bonds” are “forever broken”.

“We must demand change,” she says. “We must demand our rights. We must demand better.

“I will not stop talking about it, I will not stop fighting for it, and I will not let this system break me, no matter how close to the edge it pushes me. And for that I am NOT sorry.”

Thousands of people on the 'Not One More Day, Tories Out' national demonstration in central London

Thousands of people on the 'Not One More Day, Tories Out' national demonstration in central London

The letter (which has been shared over 7,000 times on Facebook) comes shortly after the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) calculated that the gap between the amount of midwives the NHS in England requires and the amount it now has will not be closed until 2026.

This shortfall is sure to force maternity units to close suddenly and result in some mothers receiving inadequate care before, during or after giving birth, according to experts.


Read more: Why volunteering in the NHS changed my life


Speaking to The Guardian, Louise Silverton, the director for midwifery at the RCN, said the report should be a “red flag event for this government”.

She said: “The fact that half of women have experienced a red flag event is hugely worrying. It is a sign of services under too much pressure, with too few resources and not enough staff.”

You can read the midwife’s apology letter in full here.

Images: iStock/Rex Features

Related

nurse_nhs.jpg

A nurse reveals what it's really like working for the NHS

iStock-522135720.jpg

A new study reveals just how wonderful the NHS really is

abortion.jpg

Northern Ireland women not allowed free NHS abortions, court rules

More

Why anxiety makes it harder to follow your intuition

It can have a paralysing effect on decision-making

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

“Why all men must work to stamp out sexual harassment and abuse”

In wake of the Weinstein allegations, one writer argues why men need to be counted

19 Oct 2017

Drinking alcohol can help with foreign language skills, study finds

Anyone for a dash of Dutch courage?

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

Muggles can attend the Harry Potter Yule Ball in the actual Great Hall

You even get your own wand!

by Megan Murray
19 Oct 2017

Walking for just 17 minutes a day has a dramatic effect on your health

Want to prolong your life? A bit of gentle exercise is better than none at all

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

SATC writer admits the team argued over Carrie's unrealistic lifestyle

“I like my money where I can see it – hanging in my closet”

by Megan Murray
19 Oct 2017

WhatConsentMeansToMe hashtag sparks vital conversation on Twitter

“No matter what I wear, no matter what you think – no means no”

by Anna Brech
19 Oct 2017

The Netflix shows you’re most likely to devour in 24 hours

You, my friend, are a ‘binge racer’

by Nicola Colyer
18 Oct 2017

There’s a psychological reason you’re in love with Starbucks’ red cups

It’s not just because Christmas is coming

by Gemma Crisp
18 Oct 2017

Have a wonderfully macabre Christmas with this anti-advent calendar

Bah humbug

by Megan Murray
18 Oct 2017