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They are getting rid of the NHS BF advisor in my area

(35 Posts)
HumphreyCobbler Tue 15-Sep-09 20:35:29

for no apparent reason angry

I have written to the Chief Exec to complain and now have the chance to speak at a patient feedback panel to the person who has made this decision.

I really want to state my case strongly, this bf advisor has saved breasfeeding for so many women. She is truly brilliant at her job, but terribly overworked as she is the only one covering a very large area.

There is to be no alternative provision sad

They should be giving her a medal - instead they are getting rid of her. I am very pissed off.

Are there any new bf initiatives I could quote? Any other ideas?

HumphreyCobbler Tue 15-Sep-09 21:38:52

hopeful bump

sherby Tue 15-Sep-09 21:44:05

That really does sound like a bloody bad idea.

Where we live the PCT has been given money in conjunction with surestart centres and have used it to train up 20 bf volunteers with the BFN. We now have a local bf phone number and you get through to one of the volunteers who will hopefully help you with any bf problems. We also go to ante/postnatal groups, to the hospital delivery ward and baby clinics to spread the word and phone number. They are just about to start training the next 20 up!

No ideas really for you, but I can understand why you feel so angry

PacificDogwood Tue 15-Sep-09 21:51:32

There must be WHO, UNICEF policies to support your cause!
How do they justify this? I would challenge how "baby friendly" they are.
Would HunkerMunker have the research/guidelines to help??
I am rubbish with research and the like but will have an interweb rummage for you.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 15-Sep-09 21:52:38

Cheers sherby. That all sounds great - I am training as a peer group counsellor soon too.

The thing is, this woman is a real expert. She is so experienced in all manner of problems, can advise re the medical apects of breastfeeding (babies with slow weight gain etc) which volunteers don't really cover, she does a lot of the training of midwives/hvs, she co-ordinates much of the other breastfeeding support in the area. I have watched her at work, she is ALWAYS on the phone to a tearful mother (she spoke to me once for twenty minutes and I only found out at the end she was at her husband's hospital bed side), she is so calm and reassuring you feel you are in safe hands.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 15-Sep-09 21:54:31

They have just recieved their baby friendly status - the trouble is that it lasts for three years so no one will be checking for a while. Baby friendly is just about minimum standards too, it's not as if she is no longer needed ffs.

sherby Tue 15-Sep-09 21:54:54

Make sure you put all that over when you are talking to the panel.

This kind of thing makes me so bloody angry. What is her reaction to it?

HumphreyCobbler Tue 15-Sep-09 21:57:01

She is bemused and gutted in equal measure. She doesn't know that we are all writing yet, or that I am going to this panel.

It is like a witch hunt, honestly.

The person in charge has only been there a short time and this is practically the first thing they have done.

PacificDogwood Tue 15-Sep-09 22:02:13

Is this any use? There are other links in this as well.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 15-Sep-09 22:06:25

Thanks PacificDogwood, that is great. I really appreciate your help.

I'll use that to write a prepared statement I think, that way I can be sure I make my point without crying (I am so sleep deprived that I am borderline psychotic atm).

The bits about support are especially good.

PacificDogwood Tue 15-Sep-09 22:12:04

Do a shout out for Hunker or TikTok, they are both very clued up on the politics of BFing support.
It is so very galling that there is politics in involved angry.
What Bfing I have done with varying degrees of success for 3 kids has ALL been facilitated by brilliant BFing supporters. Feel free to quote me, FWIW.

HumphreyCobbler Tue 15-Sep-09 22:15:51

Thanks. I wish I could get Hunker or Tiktok to come and do it for me - I am sure they would do it better than me.

I am just so bloody furious. She has helped no less than nine of my friends and family through their breastfeeding problems. Just extrapolate that out into the wider community...

tiktok Wed 16-Sep-09 00:10:50

HC: you need to write to the chair of your MSLC and alert him/her to the situation, and ask for support at the feedback panel.

Local NCT should help too.

I suggest getting a couple or more of strong case histories together which you can use with the panel - keep them brief and focussed.

There should also be a Maternity Health Improvement Panel (HIMP) though I am not sure if these are statutory and everywhere, or just in targetted areas. Your PCT should inform you of this.

Is there a local bf support goup - I don't mean for mothers, but multidisciplinary professional group? If Baby Friendly has been awarded, then there has probably been some sort of steering group to support the process.

Get your local bf stats - it is a legal requirement to collect them and to record them with the Dept of Health. If you cannot get them, there is a pdf somewhere on the DH website which records all the English PCT bf stats.

I don't know of any new bf initiatives, but if you trawl through the govt. policy documents, like Every Child Matters; the Children and Maternity NSFs (National Standards Frameworks); the Children's Plan; Aiming High; (all govt policy documents and all on the web) you will see bf mentioned in all (I think) of them as something that is important and that all parts of the public sector are charged with supporting and (more importantly) improving.

NICE also has evidence-based guidance on postnatal care which includes bf.

What you also need is research - and UNICEF will have it - to show that bf needs a local lead and some dedicated trained personnel to monitor and sustain improvements.

Hope this helps. Hunker knows a lot about this, BTW.

elkiedee Wed 16-Sep-09 00:13:58

No advice on how to change this decision but I share your outrage and anger. Not to knock the work of volunteers, and our PCT's bf expert actually works a lot with volunteers, but when I was still struggling with establishing bf this time after failing with DS1, and getting a lot of hassle over his weight gain (not fast enough for some HCPs' liking) ours came out to see me with the HV and was very reassuring. It's essential I think that there are staff whose knowledge and expertise is recognised by other HCPs.

Is she employed by a Primary Care Trust or a hospital?

Does the person who made the cuts decision actually know what the person in the job does and why that's important? Are there others who can review such a decision? Are there local councillors/an MP who you could approach eg via surgery (have local politicians supported pro-bf initiatives?)

I think you should also make it clear that you plan to complain to the body who decides on Baby Friendly status.

Are there any local media who would take it up?

HumphreyCobbler Wed 16-Sep-09 09:22:13

Thank you so much Tiktok and elkiedee, that is extremely helpful.

Dalrymps Wed 16-Sep-09 09:25:57

What area does she cover?

lal123 Wed 16-Sep-09 09:29:00

we've just gotten rid of out breast feeding support workers - and are replacing them with more generic workers who will cover wider child health issues. There was very little evidence that they were helping to improve breastfeeding rates.

There is an argument that breastfeeding support should be given by HVs, rather than a "specialist".

To my knowledge some breastfeeding potss are funded through short term funding - so when the funding runs out so does the post.

In these financial times there's simply no funding about to continue to provide all the services that the NHS does - something has to give.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 16-Sep-09 09:41:22

There is an argument that breastfeeding support should be given by HVs, rather than a "specialist".

That is like saying you should get rid of hospital consultants because junior doctors should be able to give the correct advice.

The something that has to give in this case is ONE person's wages. It is simply not a convincing argument given that breastfeeding rates need all the encouragement that can be given.

Dalrymps Wed 16-Sep-09 10:02:41

Just asking what are she covers cause we have a great bf lady here and i'm about to have another baby. If I hadn't seen her last time I would have stopped at 5 weeks instead of 5 months.

HumphreyCobbler Wed 16-Sep-09 13:35:31

Sorry, Gwent.

tiktok Wed 16-Sep-09 18:05:05

Get in touch with the Welsh Assembly bf advisor, then HC....if she is still there.

Prunerz Wed 16-Sep-09 18:07:24

"There is an argument that breastfeeding support should be given by HVs, rather than a "specialist". "

This is a joke, right? I have entered an alternate universe?

HVs might be OK if they were properly trained!!

elkiedee Wed 16-Sep-09 23:20:24

Our breastfeeding support worker works very closely with a team of health visitors as well as lots of other people. As HVs go, mine is quite good but isn't in a position to give the kind of bf support that a specialist can.

Lal123, how do you assess improvement in bf rates? I would expect such a post to have more impact on continuation of bf.

hunkermunker Thu 17-Sep-09 00:17:53

<waves to Tiktok> smile

HC, this is shocking. A petition is in order, I think. Heck, set one up online and I'll sign it - stick a link on here!

Have a look at page 9 of this. (Maternity Matters). And ask them how they propose to deliver the 2% points per year increase in bf initiation rates (which will also contribute to their target on reducing childhood obesity - neat, eh?) without this skilled bf advisor? And also ask why, when other Trusts are employing MORE bf-tasked employees, they think it's a good idea to get rid of one (especially since Page 14 of this doc talks about developing bf services)?

This is definitely something for the MSLC - in fact, I would suggest that if you have time, volunteer as a user rep for your local committee.

Am sure there are things I haven't thought of - really though, in a nutshell, PCTs are meant to be developing bf services, not reducing them!

hunkermunker Thu 17-Sep-09 00:19:46

Oh, and 6-8 week targets are the next "big thing" - initiation rate is pretty straightforward to raise compared to consistently sustaining higher rates of bf for 6-8 weeks (and longer). So they're really shooting themselves in the foot if they think it's a good idea to get rid of someone who's doing good things re bf.

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