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Does a QUALIFIED midwife have to be present at a hospital birth?

(5 Posts)
kate100 Sat 06-Aug-05 08:34:47

I had my second baby in hospital last friday. During labour and delivery I was cared for by a student midwife who is due to qualify in September. I cannot praise her enough for the care that she gave me, she was brilliant. However, she and an auxilliary nurse were the only people who were with me during labour and delivery, until DS was born and wasn't breathing and then the whole hospital staff appeared. I chose to give birth in hospital so that if there was an emergancy, which there was, we would be in the right place. Should I have had a qualified midwife with me, at least when I actually delivered? Surely there must be guidelines on how independent student midwives can be and their level of supervision? I didn't even realise that there had been no midwife there when DS was born until afterwards and I was shocked to discover that this had been the case. Is this normal practice in hospitals or have I been neglected? It wouldn't surprise me if I had been as overall the standard of care during my time in hospital was very poor. Can anybody tell me how much students are allowed to do independently?

Sorry for rambling, still a bit shocked by the whole hospital experience.


RedZuleika Sat 06-Aug-05 09:22:51

I don't really know the answer to this, but note that the homebirth website states that:

"It is illegal for anyone other than a UK registered midwife or doctor to 'attend' a woman in labour except in an emergency."

Quite what the defintion of 'attend' might be in hospital, when qualified professionals are arguably just a short distance away is another matter. Perhaps you could ask the Trust and / or the Nursing and Midwifery Council for a statement on the matter...?

mears Sat 06-Aug-05 20:40:30

Kate100 - you should have had a qualified midwife overseeing the student. That does not mean that she is present throughout your labour if the student is senior, but she should have been periodically checking up on things. Any vaginal examinations should not have been done by the student alone. Definately for delivery a qualified midwife should have been in the room. I would write a letter of complaint to the hospital as to have a student delivering on their own is negligent practice.

LadyLazarus Sun 07-Aug-05 12:15:23

I am not a midwife, but I am a registered nurse. When we have worked with student nurses, no matter how senior, they can look after patients to a certain extent, but the qualified member of staff is legally accountable for the care of that patient. So, yes, it seems to me that a student midwife could look after you, but as mears said, they should have been overseen by a qualified midwife. If no qualified member of staff came in to examine you or check on you, how can they be legally accountable for the care you received?

kate100 Sun 07-Aug-05 16:37:03

Thank you for your replies, I thought that this was the case and is just another disaster in the care that I received and another complaint to include when I can bring myself to write and complain. I was lucky thaat I had a good outcome, but if things had been different, well, I don't want to think about that. Still, at least now I know that I was right and I can include that in my letter. As I said, I had no problem with the student, but with the complete lackof supervision, even if it wasn't needed.

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