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End ‘natural birth’ bias in midwife job ads, hospitals told

NHS bosses have written to hospitals telling them to stop using language that implies a bias against caesarean sections when advertising jobs in maternity services.

A recent report into an NHS maternity scandal found that a focus on “normal birth” had played a key role in babies dying or being born disabled. Women at the Shrewsbury and Telford trust were forced to undergo traumatic natural births when they should have been offered surgical intervention. 

However, even since its publication, trusts have published job adverts looking for a member of staff “to help us promote normality” or saying that they are “proud of our commitment to normal birth”.

In a letter sent, Dr Matthew Jolly, NHS clinical director for maternity, and Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, chief midwifery officer, ask maternity services “to review the language that they are using about their services, in job adverts, and any other information designed to support decision-making on pregnancy and birth choices”.

The letter continues: “There have been a number of concerns raised about the language used in some NHS trust maternity service job adverts and materials — phrases that suggest bias toward one mode of birth.

“The NHS has a duty to provide safe and personalised care to women and families according to best practice guidance informed by evidence and the changes that are taking place in society, midwifery, maternity, and neonatal care services.

“It is a fundamental requirement of a maternity multidisciplinary team to inform and listen to every woman, respect their views and help them to try and achieve the type of birth they aspire to.”

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Times, 15 April 2022


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