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Midwife home visits

(26 Posts)
RudolphTheRedNosedGiraffe Sun 16-Dec-12 13:47:25

I'm at home waiting for a home visit from a community midwife (stretch & sweep), and I had a previous visit 2 days ago. Both times the midwife who booked it asked for and noted a rough time period that I said would be convenient, took my phone numbers and said I could phone the midwifery unit at the hospital if I wanted to find out when the midwife would be coming.

On Friday I didn't bother phoning as I was shattered anyway and happy to stay at home, and I suspected the hospital had more important things to do. The MW who booked the visit said the visiting MW would come in the morning if possible, and in the end she came around 2.30pm (she said she had left a message for me, but apparently she had both of my phone numbers wrong!). That same MW booked for me to be visited again today and said she would ask the MW who was coming to come early if possible as I had plans including going to a friend's house for lunch. She also confirmed my correct telephone numbers and again said I could ring the unit to find out roughly what time the MW would come, if it was later.

So around 11 this morning I did ring and politely ask, and was told there was no way of finding out, the MWs are busy, it could be any time between now and 4.30pm and I just have to wait.

I know this sounds like an AIBU rant and I probably am being unreasonable, but I'm just wondering if this is normal in other areas. I'm surprised that it's impossible to find out when the midwife is planning to come and I have to stay at home doing nothing all day. Is that normal practice everywhere in the UK?

MadMonkeys Sun 16-Dec-12 14:01:45

Yep, they have a rough schedule I imagine, but they get called out to emergencies, home births etc and these obviously can't be planned, so their schedule has to be very fluid to allow for this. It's a pain but unavoidable.

trueblood1fan Sun 16-Dec-12 14:12:36

of course you know yabu, mws are so busy & tbf you are not at the top of their to do list if a home birth comes in. can you not arrange to go in & have the sweep done? my mw is amazing but i always work around her & her schedule. anyway, youre hardly waiting around for days lol, youre on your second day?! oh dear....

jinglebellyalltheway Sun 16-Dec-12 14:15:42

of course it's normal, the community MWs attend home births and often work in the MLUs too, there's no pin pointing how long exactly that'll take, or even if they have a home visit before you that could turn into an emergency or whatever

backwardpossom Sun 16-Dec-12 14:21:05

Actually, I don't think you are being unreasonable considering you were told you could phone the hospital to find out a time... You should never have been told that in the first place. But as the others said, she's probably been called out to an emergency or omething.

Terrywoganstrousers Sun 16-Dec-12 14:21:09

Mine do clinics in the mornings and visits in the afternoons or vice versa depending on the day, so you at least have morning or afternoon. It must be very difficult to schedule actual visit times I imagine, as say they had a full days worth of appointments planned and then three women were discharged from hospital or gave birth at home- they have to be seen too so where do they fit them in?
All day is difficult for you though I agree, but I think it's hard to arrange it any other way.

SeeYouSoon Sun 16-Dec-12 14:22:25

We don't get home visits here so don't know if it's normal or not but I can understand why you find it annoying.

jinglebellyalltheway Sun 16-Dec-12 14:22:47

y'gotta put yourself at the other end of it, if you had a very quick labour and found yourself pushing at home before you got to go to the hospital if you had a hospital birth planned, you wouldn't want your MW rushing off to pre booked appointments instead of staying with you

jinglebellyalltheway Sun 16-Dec-12 14:23:26

or if you were the appointment before post still birth etc and they were clock watching...

TwitchyTail Sun 16-Dec-12 14:52:36

Yes, completely the norm unfortunately, and kind of understandable - the assumption being that if you require a home visit rather than being able to take yourself to the midwife's place of work (which is far more convenient and less time-consuming for them), you probably would be at home all day anyway rather than having a full and exciting social life grin

It's a trade-off - the convenience of having them coming to you, versus the inconvenience of having to wait around more. If it bothers you, I would definitely ask to go them instead.

RudolphTheRedNosedGiraffe Sun 16-Dec-12 15:28:45

I wish I could attend a clinic somewhere! My midwife (well whoever's covering her, as the position is vacant) comes to the GP surgery once a fortnight and if I need to see her at another time I have the impression it has to be a home visit. I do understand - I guess I'm just annoyed at being given false hopes.

SledsImOn Sun 16-Dec-12 15:38:03

I thought they had some midwives who had appts (clinic etc) and some who were 'on call' for home births and so on.

It seems unfair to have to wait in all day - what if you have older kids at school, that need picking up? But maybe the midwife you're seeing is the 'on call' one, rather than the appointment one.

We used to get routine visits at home from about 32 weeks, and they always made an appt and kept to it.

BionicEmu Sun 16-Dec-12 16:40:31

I can understand being annoyed. It's one thing if you're told from the start that they can't give you a time, but another if they say they can and then don't/can't stick with it.

I've never had a home visit ante-natally, have always had to go to either my GP surgery or the "local" health centre (it's not that local, its 10 ish miles away, but its where the MWs are based.) Is there any chance you can ask them if there's somewhere else you can go to a clinic or something? Might be better than waiting in all day.

jinglebellyalltheway Sun 16-Dec-12 16:41:56

"I thought they had some midwives who had appts (clinic etc) and some who were 'on call' for home births and so on"

they do, the ones that do the GP clinics are not counted in the community numbers, the ones that do home visits are and do home visits and home births etc

TheDetective Sun 16-Dec-12 17:19:36

The midwives who work in the community also do the on calls for homebirths. There are some Trusts who have separate homebirth teams, but for the vast majority it is the community midwives.

The problem is this - yesterday, x number of women were discharged home from hospital with their new babies. The community midwives have no way of knowing at 5pm the previous day how many visits they will have for the next day. All these women need a visit on the first day home from hospital. Women are discharged until late, some have discharges over night if they are having a 2/4/6 hour etc discharge. So it is almost impossible to plan workload effectively and give timed visits.

Sometimes if the midwife runs a set clinic she can tell you morning or afternoon. Sometimes she might be able to give you an idea of the time. But the other thing to consider is that each visit lasts as long as it needs to. There is no set length for a visit. So one women could need an hour, one woman 5 minutes. Makes it very hard again to plan visit times. A midwife would have to spend her morning ringing all her visits after working out which way she is going to do them (planning distance etc to make best of time) and give them a time, which then wouldn't be accurate anyway due to visits not being a scheduled length of time.

Hope that explains it a little more - I'm a midwife, on maternity leave. So see it from both sides ;)

I'd prefer to have a morning or afternoon option personally, as we have the school run to consider for older child. But knowing the system means I understand I can't have this! I just have to make do.

Phineyj Sun 16-Dec-12 17:33:05

That is the NHS for you. My independent midwife comes at the time booked, or if at a birth, rings or texts and rebooks. The NHS is not organised around the convenience of the customer - we are supposed to be grateful for what we get. Mind you, their timeslots are no worse than Argos or British Gas...

unexpectediteminbaggingarea Sun 16-Dec-12 17:58:45

I'm a community midwife and offer no antenatal home visits at all, unless a woman is not turning up to clinic appointments and I am concerned for her welfare. We just don't have the time. I'm surprised some have the capacity to offer routine antenatal home visits. I expect to see at least 20 antenatal women in a day, I certainly couldn't do that if I was seeing them at home. If I have a clinic and visits 15 antenatal appointments and 5-6 postnatal visits is normal.

In terms of postnatal visits, what thedetective said. I do offer morning or afternoon but I just can't be any more specific than that, as a visit to help with breastfeeding or discuss a traumatic birth might take 2 hours, another might take 10 minutes. It's too hard to plan. I think it's bonkers not to offer somewhere that women can drop in for appointments, rather than waiting around all day. Of course all women have our number and can phone if they are going out or whatever so we can plan it together.

Did she turn up in the end? Maybe the sweep worked and you're going into labour...

SledsImOn Sun 16-Dec-12 19:09:41

Phiney, not everyone can afford to 'upgrade' to a private service. I'm sure you realise that.

Sorry for the confusion about home visits, what I should have made clear was that this was 10 years ago - I'm now having dc3 and they don't visit at home any more. Everything antenatal is done at the clinic at the local hospital, where you're not allowed to give birth any more sadly.

Our community midwives operate clinics from there but also attend home births etc on the rota. So they can be having appointments one day, on call the next. I think they do a brill job given the constraints of the funding and red tape and so on. I really like mine.

RudolphTheRedNosedGiraffe Sun 16-Dec-12 22:11:55

Nope, I didn't go into labour and the midwife never arrived - I guess there was an emergency or something. Anyway tomorrow the community midwives office will be open so I can phone there and find out what to do. I'd be happy to attend at the hospital as it's less than a mile from my house! Will see what they say.

TwitchyTail Sun 16-Dec-12 22:39:41

I'd certainly be annoyed about her not turning up at all for a planned procedure and not calling to let you know why - emergency or not, that's not on. I'd call in the morning and try to go to the hospital if at all possible.

unexpectediteminbaggingarea Mon 17-Dec-12 08:29:10

rudolph that is just pants. There is absolutely no excuse for not ringing/texting to let you know. I would be very cross if I were you.

RudolphTheRedNosedGiraffe Mon 17-Dec-12 12:07:33

Well I was feeling much better about it this morning anyway, was possibly a bit hormonal yesterday! smile I called the community midwives office and they apologetically asked me to come to the hospital for it as nobody was available - which is much better for me anyway. All done now!

FestiveDigestive Mon 17-Dec-12 15:49:05

I wish we still had home visits here sad. I am heavily pregnant with twins, having contractions most of the time & am about to drag myself off to the Drs surgery for a MW apt. I can barely get out of the car in the car park because the spaces are so close together! I was told that they just don't have time for visits anymore.

Even the post-natal visits are being changed to clinic apts here. With newborn twins, a toddler & c-section recovery, there's no way I'll be attending the clinic apts.

Having said that, waiting in all day (when you are mobile enough to go out) would be annoying. With my last pregnancy, there seemed to be a out three times the amount of midwives in my area. They could always come for home visits, fit in emergency apts & were there for a chat a out any worries. Now all that has gone & all concerns are passed to the nearest hospital - which means the ante-natal ward there is bursting at the seams with really stressed staff. It seems to be happening everywhere now.

slippyshoes Mon 17-Dec-12 18:39:50

This is not a criticism of you OP but I really don't understand why midwives do home visits at all, seems such an utter waste of NHS resources. Same for health visitors - why do they do home visits to perfectly mobile women who could just attend clinics instead? Baffling.

nananaps Mon 17-Dec-12 18:45:41

Same here OP but i understand a bit more now i have read through this thread.

Im not a princess, but have to go and do school run etc and would hate to miss the MW as i know how very busy they are, dont want to waste the appointment which is to have my BP checked. (I did offer to go to the clinic but they say its full and cant fit me in for weeks)

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