Miscarriage Care - the story so far
Over the years, many Mumsnetters have shared painful stories of treatment during and after miscarriage. For some, the issues are practical - long waits for scans, or 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 mention a lack of qualified staff or of an Early Pregnancy Unit.
"We were left waiting in reception for ages, and were not offered a scan of any description. I was told several times that I was not actually pregnant. I was sent home and fully miscarried there, 24 hours later."
Some are profoundly upset by clinical language. Some feel that their grief for a much-wanted baby is pushed to one side, or that they are treated carelessly - even callously - by some healthcare workers.
"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 on the 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 women.
Many of our campaign's points were already in NHS, NICE and RCOG guidelines, but needed to be better implemented. Lots of hospital trusts around the country already provide excellent miscarriage care; we want those high standards to become universal.
"Differing standards between hospital trusts in miscarriage care is absolutely staggering. I have known incredibly caring, professional and competent care - and also the complete opposite."
In 2008, the government gave a firm commitment to change, with Chief Nursing Officer Christine Beasley saying: "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."
In 2011 - after a change of government and a huge changes within the NHS - we relaunched the campaign, receiving strong support from many MPs and clinicians. Around this time we also achieved one of the specific aims of our campaign - changing the name of the procedure that was previously referred to as 'evacuation of the retained products of conception' (a name many women found distressing) to 'surgical management of miscarriage'.
"I fully support the five aims of Mumsnet's campaign. Whilst I am always first to celebrate the great strengths of the NHS, I know that this is an area in which, for many women and families, it falls terribly short. So expect vocal support from me on this important issue." - Andy Burnham MP, Labour Shadow Health Minister
"Miscarriage is devastating for women and their partners so it is essential that they get the best care. We welcome the Mumsnet campaign in raising awareness of this issue." - Anne Milton, then Health Minister
In 2012 we conducted a Freedom of Information exercise showing that many hospital trusts meet all the point of our code - but that a substantial number did not.
Now, we're calling on all the major political parties to pledge to improve miscarriage care, based on the principles in our code, by 2020. The results so far? Labour has committed to this, and the Liberal Democrat Health Minister Norman Lamb has said he will personally argue for its inclusion in their mainfesto. This is great news, but to be sure that care will improve, we need commitment not only from Labour and the Liberal Democrats, but from the Conservatives too. So please keep the pressure up on Jeremy Hunt.
Please ask Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) for his support, click the button to the right to Tweet at him.
Last updated: over 1 year ago