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Live webchat with shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley, Tues 24 Feb, 12-12.45pm

(109 Posts)
GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 19-Feb-09 11:11:27

We're welcoming Andrew Lansley as our webchat guest on Tues 24 Feb. He's interested in Mumsnetters' take on the Tories' research about women in labour being turned away from maternity units. Please join us if you can, or post questions in advance if you can't make it on the day.

hunkermunker Thu 26-Feb-09 21:48:11

Thank you, Andrew.

Bit disappointed with the response re bf, but at least I can assume he read my post.

The bit about more intensive health visiting concerns me though - how is that going to be feasible? Employing more health visitors? What bf training will they have? (I know he's gone and this is therefore rhetorical, but hey, posting anyway!).

SnowlightMcKenzie Tue 24-Feb-09 16:59:42

Thank you Andrew.

<thought he was good too, and certainly impressed with his fast, accurate typing>

It's a sensible thing for the Tories to be looking at I think. Child-bearing women as a group are a very large section of society/voters.

morningpaper Tue 24-Feb-09 14:12:00

It is interesting to read this sort of debate but it is hard to feel optimistic about the future - whoever wins the next election will have to make massive cuts across the public sector. Cameron has already pledged to cut public services by £5 billion and plenty of people are thinking this is going to be much, much higher. I doubt investment in midwifery is going to be remotely on anyone's radar for quite some time.


Personally, I've had really good experiences in terms of NHS care.

neenztwinz Tue 24-Feb-09 13:37:41

That was really interesting. I thought Andrew was very good but words are cheap and would the Tories deliver?

The problem the NHS has is it is very hard to make it perfect for every person with every single illness/ailment.

More midwives would be a good start.

I had a wonderful birth - with twins, felt very well cared for from consultant down to student midwife and the care I received postnatally was excellent as was the BFing advice and support I got antenatally and postnatally. So it is not all terrible in today's NHS maternity services.

rubyslippers Tue 24-Feb-09 12:53:10

thought he was pretty good

thank you Andrew


Maiakins Tue 24-Feb-09 12:52:13

Thank you Andrew for listening to our concerns about the UK's maternity crisis!

BoffinMum Tue 24-Feb-09 12:51:03

<leads applause for Andrew>

cmotdibbler Tue 24-Feb-09 12:48:11

Thanks Andrew - we're always here with an opinion to share if you want to find out what life is like on the ground grin

ScottishMummy Tue 24-Feb-09 12:45:52

chronic shortage of level III NICU cots,due to shortage of Neonatal nurses.inadequate planning and projection meant not enough nurses trained,posts frozen as staff leave,constrained budgets

the clinical impact is huge,the sickest babies being blue lighted across regions to get a cot

will you invest in more training, recruit staff to address this.

bizibee Tue 24-Feb-09 12:45:34

our early preg unit just closed and so now if we find miscarriage on scan have to go to the next hosiptal

BoffinMum Tue 24-Feb-09 12:44:57

Thank you for coming on, Andrew. You have responded to more questions than I thought you would be able to in the time, and it has been really helpful.

GeraldineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 24-Feb-09 12:44:53

Sadly, nearly the end of today's webchat. Thanks to everyone who has posted and to Andrew for lots of responses.

AndrewLansley Tue 24-Feb-09 12:44:21

Thanks for all your questions and input. Sorry I haven't been able to answer all of them in the time we've had available. But, HerBeatitudeLittleBella, you urged me to 'read and learn' and I certainly have learnt from all your stories and comments. The figures that I published about mothers being turned away from maternity wards were shocking in themselves, with an increase in closures from 400 in 2007 to 550 last year. But hearing your stories has brought home to me the fact that every one of those numbers tells an awful story about mothers being turned away from hospital at a hugely emotional time. I've enjoyed our discussion and there's lots of issues here for me to look at further.

BoffinMum Tue 24-Feb-09 12:44:05

Our pregnancy loss unit is only open during office hours. They put you next to the terminal gynae cancer patients if you have the audacity to miscarry out of hours.

wasuup3000 Tue 24-Feb-09 12:43:18

Just a quick off topic reminder to you before you go not to forget to support the autism bill in parliament on Friday 27th.

bizibee Tue 24-Feb-09 12:43:03

if you put one-to-one care in labour as a manifesto promise I would vote Conservative for the first time in my life, Promise!

cmotdibbler Tue 24-Feb-09 12:42:13

Yes, one of the first things the Dr said to me when I was in prem labour was that it was really good news that there was actually a bed for my DS at the hospital. They didn't tell me that in order to keep the SCBU at that hospital open, there was no consultant paediatrician there and it was entirely nurse led. Thus anything more than basic care required and your baby was blue lighted across Sussex, or worse.

Any comment on care (or lack therof) for women experiencing pregnancy loss Andrew ? Your opponents promised us a review, but we've heard nothing so far

BoffinMum Tue 24-Feb-09 12:41:22

I think a linked question to ScottishMummy's might be are the Tories prepared to maintain unused capacity in SCBU (and indeed hospitals) as there is probably a trend here started under the Thatcher administration, in reducing 'surplus' capacity to the bone to 'improve efficiency'. Sort fo 'just in time healthcare'.

wasuup3000 Tue 24-Feb-09 12:40:30

Will the conservatives deliver is the key question?

AndrewLansley Tue 24-Feb-09 12:39:38

To Maiakins
Yes, I can assure you that the Conservatives are committed to an NHS free at the point of use, based on need and not ability to pay. This of course, covers NHS maternity services.

AndrewLansley Tue 24-Feb-09 12:39:04

To Bizibee
Yes, I agree. The Government promised one to one midwifery care but have failed to deliver it. Mothers should have the option and that's what matters.

BoffinMum Tue 24-Feb-09 12:38:15

Thanks for responses, Andrew.

There is a thread on MN at the moment which argues that high risk mothers are being deprived of things like active birthing as a direct consequence of heavy investment in the Midwife Led Birthing Units, even though there are no medical grounds for doing so. In other words, if you are diabetic or whatever, you are doomed to a passive birth and subsequent obstetric intervention for no good reason, whereas 'normal' women get mood lighting, birthing balls and a cosier environment. I am wondering if again, some sort of maternity services voucher system would help women vote with their feet. Are the Tories anti-vouchers?

ScottishMummy Tue 24-Feb-09 12:37:53

Bliss 2008 report NeoNatal units regularly forced to close due to staff shortages or undertake inappropriate transfers due to pressure on beds

do you plan to recruit more NICU/SCBU would you encourage retention of staff and more units open

AndrewLansley Tue 24-Feb-09 12:37:42

To 'Scottish Mummy' - The Darzi Review contains of lot of good material about the kind of services we want. It is less clear about how it is to be delivered. Emphasising quality is right, but setting up a National Quality Board isn't enough. Quality comes from professional staff, empowered and equipped to provide the care, properly accountable to the public for the services they provide, responsive to choice, and accountable for outcomes.

Maiakins Tue 24-Feb-09 12:36:11

Hi - I agree with Slalomsuki that there is a real crisis with special care beds for newborns, which impacts upon where mothers give birth. For example, people from Slough being airlifted to Manchester. I think a really cost-effective way of freeing up special care beds would be to make it illegal for IVF clinics to implant more than 1 embryo, as twins/triplets need special care in 50% of cases. This wouldn't cost the Conservatives any money and of course would need to be carefully reviewed, but it really would make the experience of families who require special care beds much less traumatic by easing up the pressure on the number of beds required.

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