Jessica Ormerod, NHA spokesperson for maternity says,
“Jeremy Hunt’s tweet that the NHS is killing babies is disgraceful. Both the comment and the means of communicating it show a lack of respect for the vulnerability of the families concerned in his haste to attack the health service. His refusal to retract the words and his failure to understand that this language is wrong cast doubt on his fitness for his Cabinet position. (LBC 17 June)
Cathy Warwick, General Secretary for the RCM, has said the causes of the UK’s comparatively high level of stillbirth and perinatal death are complex but are largely due to the factors in people’s daily lives which affect their health.
The NHA says the causes are both internal and external.
Internally the NHS is in chaos as a result of the Health and Social Care Act in 2012. 14 maternity units have been closed and 5 downgraded. 17 more are under consideration for downgrade. The Royal College of Midwives’ call for 5,000 more midwives has been ignored. Just two weeks ago the National Institute of Health and Clinical Evidence said it had stopped working on staff to patient ratios at the request of NHS England.(www.theguardian.com/society/2015/jun/04/nhs-patient-safety-fears-nice-scrap-staffing-level-guidelines-mid-staffs-scandal
Externally the pressures on people are growing as a result of the punitive and unnecessary ‘austerity’ measures this government is continuing to impose. Food banks, benefit sanctions, low wage employment, overcrowded, unsanitary and insecure housing all contribute to poor health and poor health contributes to poor maternity outcomes.
Rather than accuse the dedicated midwives and NHS staff of manslaughter he should look to his own and his party’s policies that are reducing the capability of our much needed maternity service.”