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Wondering if the power of mumsnet might be able to help save The Albany Midwifery Practice?

17 replies

EccentricaGallumbits · 07/12/2009 19:18

I'm hoping this request is not out of place (no idea where to post it) and anyone here may be able to help.

The Albany is a wonderful midwifery practice based in Peckham, London. They are one of the few groups inthe UK who actually give real choice and continuity of care to their women.

They are in danger of being closed and their contract to provide first class women centred care to the women in their area cancelled.

This is their website The Albany

There is a petition here

There is also a facebook group - search save the albany.

OP posts:
Blu · 07/12/2009 19:28

Oh, the Albany are fantastic. Why are they under threat? Money?

I was with the Brierly team - also from King's - surely mw teams like this are responsible fo the high rate of succesful hbs from King's?

EccentricaGallumbits · 07/12/2009 19:34

Some investigations going on into a couple of cases that went wrong, which is tragic and awful, but not proven to be anyone's fault. Just seems like the Albany is being scapegoated and the excuse that Kings and the NMC have been looking for to end the contract.

The above is my personal feeling of what is going on not what is being reported by Kings or the investigation but if you are inteested please could you have a dig and make up your own mind.

OP posts:
onebatmother · 08/12/2009 13:31

Hello chaps

there was an interesting article in the Guardian yesterday - did anyone see it?

onebatmother · 08/12/2009 13:32

oh blimin heck here

EccentricaGallumbits · 08/12/2009 13:34


OP posts:
Canugess · 08/12/2009 14:22

I have just posted on another thread about this.

I feel passionately that the Albany Midwifery practice should be able to continue to support the women of peckham.

As Parent, you have the power to stop this. Please get behind the Albanymums and sign their petition.

Mumsnet is a big organisation, please stand together to fight this.


Blu · 09/12/2009 13:00

Well, I would expect a community team to comply with the King's protocols, and if that wasn't happening, SURELY there is an alternative to just cutting the contract? Like discipliniary procedure, re-training or whatever!

I was in A&E in Kings and protocol wasn't followed - my consultant suggested I write in with what happened - I haven't seen the entire A&E Dept close down!

onebatmother · 09/12/2009 13:09

hello chaps - just wondering if anyone would have a bit of time to post their experience of the Albany so that we can get a clear idea of how it differs from the norm for our meeting with the RCM? Might be very useful.
onebatmother · 09/12/2009 13:09

Forgot 'thanks!'

EccentricaGallumbits · 09/12/2009 16:14

bumpety bump. anyone?

campaign website here

OP posts:
EccentricaGallumbits · 09/12/2009 16:16

there are birth stories gathred for the campaign on the website.

OP posts:
2shoes · 09/12/2009 17:10

read the guardian article, surely if there are a high percentage of births that go wrong(I assume the end result is a brain damaged baby) then why would they be kept going?

EccentricaGallumbits · 09/12/2009 17:19

thing is - comparitively there doesn't seem to be. The cases appear to be hand picked to highlight things that go wrong while ignoring all the good.

It's a bit like taking 1000 births and 2 had problems. Those 2 are then used as an excuse to say the entire practice is bad.

No one has said that if a baby born in a hospital ends up with brain damage the hospital must stop delivering them.

How many cases of HE have there been at Kings? Who's fault were they? Have they been banned from delivering babies?

also HIE is often due to other causes not just birth asphyxiation and impossibly hard to diagnose so who knows whether the babies would be the same had they been born in a hospital?

OP posts:
HollyBunda · 09/12/2009 17:27

hello Onebat,

I recently gave birth at home to my third child under the care of the Albany.
My second child was born at home using Kings.
My first in the US in hospital.

First of all, with the Albany, I saw the same midwife for ALL of my care. She would come to my house if I wanted or I could go to their office.
She would spend up to an hour or more during our visits if it was required.
She got to know me and my wishes, I got to know her and got to trust her.
One visit she spent nearly 2 hours discussing what labour was like, what happens to your body and showed me photos of other deliveries.
I always felt very supported in my decision to birth at home but never once doubted that if any problems arose she would advise me in what the best course of action would be.

When I went into labour I called her, she came out, (followed by my second who arrived too late, I had a QUICK labour).
They helped me start breastfeeding off, they showed me & my family the placenta and showed us how it works.
They made tea. My daughter came down and hugged her.

The next day my midwife came over to make sure all was ok and see how we were doing, checked the baby again.
She came back again 2 days later.
Unfortunately she moved away after that, but my second then took over all aftercare.
I had visits from her for 6 weeks.

I felt totally supported and honestly, the care I recieved was first class.

The care I had from Kings with me second birth was appalling. Honestly. They forgot about me. After one meeting with a midwife for 10 minutes, she told me they would be in touch to set up some tests and then never called me. I am from the states and it was my second pregnancy so I was pretty relaxed, but I realized I was 36, 37 weeks in and had heard from no one.
I called them and they had no idea who I was.
When I went in to labour, the midwife came to the house and angrily told me I was not in established labour and that i didn't need her. Well, we were told to call when I went into labour. I have very quick births so we called her.
She went away and not an hour later did we have to call again.
Kings had no midwife to send to us so they sent 2 from forest hill.
They arrived and I was pushing.
They were great, another practice much like the Albany.

I had ZERO aftercare from kings.
No one came out at all, ever.
The health visitor came out after a week, checked her boxes and that was it.

So there are MAJOR differences in the care I recieved with the Albany.
This is the kind of care that all women deserve.
It isn't about home VS. hospital, it's about getting the kind of care that we all deserve to get.

onebatmother · 09/12/2009 20:01

Holly, that's great - really very clear. So nice to hear lovely birth stories. Congratulations!

sausagerolemodel · 15/12/2009 13:11

I also gave birth at home, with assistance from two fantastic Albany midwives.

I had known them both from the very first appointment and they emphasised that they would be with me on the day, whether that was at home or hospital.

Their emphasis was on the mother's choices during pregnancy, labour and childbirth. They empower women to give birth in the way that they want. Although I had a successful home birth, my placenta was retained. Both MWs stayed with me while I was transferred to hospital and operated on to remove it, even though it was 4am and they had done their job of delivering the baby. For this support, I will always be eternally grateful.

There is some political background to this move - in my opinion.

There is pressure for the government to provide better midwifery care which concentrates on increased support for women by seeing the same midwives continuously throughout pregnancy, and by improving the provision for homebirth choice.

These things are, of course, more expensive at the outset than the factory farming style of ante-natal care that PCTs prefer. (although ultimately the considerably lower intervention/surgical rate means that money is saved, I believe that this never goes back into the pockets of the midwifery budget, so one to one care is simply seen as an expensive luxury by those controlling ante-natal budgets)

It has been suggested that the Albany was set up as an experiment that was doomed to fail. Why else would you choose to put this practice in one of the poorest boroughs in England with extremely high levels of poverty, poor educational attainment levels, and a huge population for whom English was not a first language? If it did fail, the government could say "well, you're better off in hospital, this one-to-one midwifery thing isn't working".

Except it did work. Incredibly well. he satsifaction factor from the new mothers is inestimable - as seen in the Guardian video. They had high rates of home birth, much higher than average rates of breastfeeding, and extremely low rates of intervention. T

[quote] The Albany has been thoroughly evaluated twice, has a far lower Caesarean section rate than King?s College Hospital (14.4% compared with 24.1%) and a far lower perinatal mortality rate (4.9/1000 compared with 11.4/1000) for Southwark Borough as a whole.[/quote]

It seems that there have been two cases in which births at King's resulted in problems, and because the midwives are essentially independent (and therefore not bound to work to King's protocols) they have closed them down even though there is absolutely no evidence that it was the protocol differences that were the cause of any of the problems.

The Albany emphasise the woman's right to choose. They are all extremely bright and highly educated midwives who explain the choices clearly. There is a very telling quote at the end of the Guardian article which reads

[quote] Professor Alison Macfarlane, a healthcare statistician at City University, has written a critique of the way the cases used for the report were selected. The Albany midwives said they would not discuss the report, because it was confidential, but drew attention to a remark of the authors, who said: "The study methodology employed does not lend itself to a meaningful statistical analysis."[/quote]

If this is the case, then it looks like the Albany have been scapegoated to a higher political cause, which is taking away a woman's right to choose her form of childbirth care, and that means we all lose.

I will be supporting the campaign to save the albany.

emmahere · 14/01/2010 16:19

Hi - you all seem to have sniffed out the flaws in this closure brilliantly.

This issue is still very much alive and kicking and there is a BBC News item tomorrow (Friday 15th Jan ) at 1.30pm and 6.30pm on BBC London on the campaign to reverse the decision.

If anyone is interested in the background to the Albany closure I have included it on my blog around the Times piece I wrote on it on 23rd December

Also - for updates on the campaign - join "Albany Mums" on Facebook where meetings and march details will be posted.

Keep on keeping on.

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