Mumsnet campaign for better miscarriage care and treatment
Like everyone else, we think the NHS should provide appropriate, responsive treatment to the one in four pregnancies that ends in miscarriage; treatment that takes its cue from patients' needs. Unfortunately, this is often not the case, as thread after thread on Mumsnet shows. Too often, the pain of miscarriage is compounded by care that falls short. This is why we're launching our campaign for better miscarriage care.
To coincide with this year's Baby Loss Awareness Day on 15 October, we've drawn up the Mumsnet Miscarriage Code of Care. The code proposes a series of simple changes to current health service miscarriage treatment. We believe that, if fully implemented by NHS care providers, these changes would significantly lessen the trauma of early pregnancy loss for parents.
How we're campaigning for better miscarriage care
We need national and local support to make the code a reality. This means we need politicians at national level to back our campaign and, as the NHS becomes more devolved, local support from MPs and others to ensure local hospitals are doing all they can to support miscarrying women and their families.
We're writing to health secretary Andrew Lansley asking for his support, and we're asking all MPs to sign an Early Day Motion committing MPs to supporting, at a local level, our Miscarriage Code of Care.
Sevenoaks District Council has led the way in local campaigning on the Code of Care, performing an audit of its local hospitals and asking our members for insights about their experiences. Read the local press story and have a look at MNers' input on the Talk thread.
What you can do to help support the campaign
Broadly, we would like you to:
- Email your MP to ask him or her to sign the Early Day Motion
- Email Jeremy Hunt, secretary of state for health, to let him know that you want the government to act on miscarriage care
- Email your local paper - challenge your local hospitals and trusts to get involved
- Contact the maternity services liaison committee of your NHS Primary Care Trust
- Share this on your Facebook page, if you have one, and tweet about our campaign with hashtag #miscarriagecare
To make all of this as painless as possible, we've pulled together some resources - widgets, draft letters and the like - to help you.
Background to the better miscarriage care campaign
"I was sent back to the waiting area, where I had to wait nearly two hours to see a doctor. In that time, lots of pregnant women came along, had their scans, and went home smiling. I was sat sobbing in front of all these people."
Over the years, many Mumsnetters have shared painful stories of poor treatment during and after miscarriage. For some, the issues were practical - the anguish of miscarrying in an antenatal setting or a labour ward, surrounded by women looking forward to the safe arrival of their baby. Others mentioned the lack of availability of qualified staff or the difficulties of accessing care in an Early Pregnancy Unit.
1. Supportive staff
2. Access to scanning
3. Safe and appropriate places for treatment
4. Good information and effective treatment
5. Joined-up care
Others were profoundly upset by the 'official' language of miscarriage, which failed to distinguish between a miscarriage and a termination, or to acknowledge the loss of a baby with whom they already felt a profound emotional connection. Some felt that they were grieving for a whole set of hopes and plans for the future, but that the emotional impact of miscarriage was pushed to one side.
"When I had a miscarriage some years ago, it happened when I was on the toilet. The A&E nurse said 'Oh well, best place for it.'"
In response to the sheer volume of posts about this subject, we launched the first Miscarriage Code of Practice in 2008. Written in close consultation with Mumsnetters, it proposed a number of simple changes that could really reduce the trauma experienced by many miscarrying parents.
Many of our campaign's points were already in NHS guidelines, but needed to be better implemented. The then government gave a firm commitment to change, with Chief Nursing Officer Christine Beasley saying at the time: "We are going to help local NHS organisations across the country to understand and improve the quality of their services, and to make decisions about the services they provide in future."
Three years on - after a change of government and a huge shake-up within the NHS - we think it's time to get miscarriage treatment firmly back on the agenda.
After further input from Mumsnetters, and in consultation with professional and campaigns bodies working in this area, we've refined the code - now a Code of Care - and we think it gives us a real chance of reducing the trauma of early pregnancy loss for parents.
Miscarriage is never going to be less than painful but, with your help, we can make it easier to bear.
- Council uses Mumsnet code of care, Sevenoaks Chronicle, 17 Jan 2013
- Miscarriages mistreated by NHS, Journal of Family Health Care, 11 Oct 2011
- NHS prolonging miscarriage distress, The FreshOutlook.com, 10 Oct 2011
- Campaign launched to improve NHS care for women after miscarriage, Yahoo lifestyle, 10 Oct 2011
- Drive for better miscarriage, The Royal College of Midwives.com, 10 Oct 2011
- Better miscarriage care needed, The National Helth Executive, 10 Oct 2011
- Thousands of women who lose babies put in wards with new mothers, The Daily Mail, 10 Oct 2011
- Women criticise miscarriage care, BBC News, 10 Oct 2011
- Anger at care standards for women who miscarry, The Mirror, 10 Oct 2011
- Campaign launched to improve care for women after miscarriage, Marieclaire.co.uk, 10 Oct 2011
- How NHS worsens the agony of miscarriage, Scotsman, 10 Oct 2011
- 63% miscarry at home without adequate pain relief, Nursing Times, 10 Oct 2011
- Campaign launched to improve NHS care for women after miscarriage, Guardian, 10 Oct 2011
- Women who miscarry are 'neglected by the Health Service', The Independent, 10 Oct 2011