I have just finished facilitating the @WeMidwives twitter chat, which runs every two weeks, under the domain of @WeNurses.
Tonight the debate centred around the shortage of midwives in the UK, and the impact this has on mothers and babies. The participants in the chat were raring to go. Interestingly but not surprising the majority of tweeters were student midwives, and they carefully and articulately described the situation in today's NHS maternity services. I believe that the content of the chat found here is a true reflection of things, as I hear from my colleagues around the country on a daily basis.
It is desperately sad. The resources are limited and constrained. It seems ludicrous that the NHS has a financial plan that enforces savings on services that potentially cost the NHS more in the long term.
We must keep raising the issue that radical change is needed to ensure care at the very beginning of life is the best it can be. Midwifery staffing levels are inadequate, and the workload is increasing for many reasons. I recently wrote a post for the NHS Confederation's blog for NHS Leaders highlighting the need to take stock of the Francis Report's recommendations and to listen to what service users are telling us, before it's too late.
The students involved in the chat tonight were insightful, sensible and sensitive. They see and feel the pressure, the tension, the joy and the tiredness. They want to change things, and why shouldn't they get the opportunity? They are the future.
And I think we owe it to them to keep pushing for change. I will try, will you?