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'Exhausted and broken' midwives at West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds speak out about 'substandard care' in whistleblowing letter

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Midwives at Suffolk Hospital have spoken out in a whistleblowing letter describing problems in their department as ‘demoralising and heartbreaking’.

In the letter, written by midwives who declined to give their names "for fear of retribution", describe constant staff shortages, a culture of blame and fear, a high pressure environment and substandard care, saying " We entered midwifery to be able to give women centred, holistic care. Instead it feels like we are being overwhelmed by the unmanageable and relentless workload, and as a result are giving substandard care which is demoralising and heartbreaking. We are all feeling like we are now desperate for change. This change is beyond what we can achieve ourselves so we urge you to please help us to generate it. It should not be accepted or tolerated for us to be forced into giving unsafe care entirely due to unsafe staffing". 

In response, Karen Newbury, head of midwifery at the trust, said: “We are working exceptionally hard to recruit additional midwives and we are very grateful for the flexibility and dedication of our staff in ensuring that we provide a safe and caring service – this was recognised by our Care Quality Commission inspection in April which found we managed safety well. We have recently completed recruitment so there will be at least two senior midwives on every shift to provide flexible and experienced support to our maternity teams, and we are working with colleagues regionally to recruit staff both locally and internationally as well as running a full student training programme.”

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Source: Suffolk News, 20 August 2021

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