As you will all know from my very first blog, I was very keen to make sure that my feedback was sent to the right people to get some positive and much needed changes to the way in which the NHS (and for all I know, private health care too) treats miscarriage. My experience was terrible, and sadly I’m learning more and more than it was not unique. It seems that the attitudes of medical staff towards early pregnancy loss is pretty awful all over the U.K.
When you get that heartbreaking news all you want is some compassion, some understanding and some kind words. Sadly it seems that cold and clinical is about all you’ll get though. I’ve tried to contact the health minister for Wales (surprise surprise no response from him) and the chief of nursing for Wales, and Yep, you guessed it – no response from her either. But I am determined to make sure that someone listens to me and does something about this unacceptable situation so I once again turned to the brilliant people at the miscarriage association. A lovely lady called Ruth gave me her email address and asked me to send my feedback to her with the promise that she would make sure it got to the right people.
So Sunday morning I sat with a cup of coffee and wrote the whole sorry story in what ended up being a very lengthy email to Ruth, including my suggestions for how I think improvements can be made. I was realistic in what I asked, I appreciate that the NHS is severely under resourced and as such made sensible recommendations as to how they can make inprovements that won’t cost them anything at all – Mainly by just being more human! Not really rocket science is it?!
Anyway, lovely Ruth emailed me straight back with some really positive news that I had to share with you all because in this sisterhood of sorrow it’s too easy to get stuck on the negativity, and I think we could all do with a little victory to help us along.
It was a very long email full of information so I’m giving you the bullet points – she told me about the NHS maternity review which is being undertaken by NHS England, but as Ruth pointed out, if England makes changes Wales will have to follow suit. There is a survey online where women and their partners can leave feedback on their experiences around pregnancy, birth, labour and loss. Naturally I filled it out immediately, and I urge you to do the same. The more people who leave honest feedback, good or bad, the better.
As well as this, Ruth is going to several meetings with health care professionals to discuss the maternity review and offer suggestions based on their experiences at the miscarriage association. Ruth has assured me that my email will be a big help, and that she will be using the points I’ve raised and passing my feedback on to the relevant people. Hurrah! Finally someone who’s listening and wants to help.
The miscarriage association are also producing three videos which will be sent to healthcare staff who are most likely to encounter miscarriage. These include GP’s, sonographers and paramedics, to advise and better inform them of how to handle this delicate situation. Once the first three have been reviewed, there are plans for more of these videos to be produced too.
I can’t tell you how happy Ruth’s email made me. Obviously it doesn’t make the pain and loss I still feel go away, but knowing that something positive could come out of such an awful thing, and knowing that I’m making a difference really brings me a lot of comfort. When I set out with this blog, it was to break the silence around miscarriage and do my best to make sure that improvements to the healthcare system in the U.K were made. It’s a long road and of course I’m not giving up on it yet! I’ll continue to contact as many influential people as I can, and I know that the miscarriage association will keep doing everything that they can too. They really do offer a wonderful service and honestly the support I’ve received from them has been amazing.
At the end of this post you’ll find a link to the miscarriage association, where you can donate if you feel so inclined – after all, they are a charity who’s amazing work can only continue with public support. I’ve also included the link to the NHS maternity review – One to the pregnancy and birth survey, and one to the pregnancy conplications and bereavement survey. To reiterate, this is an England only review, however you can complete the survey and input your postcode and the hospital you’re referring to even if it’s in Wales, Scotland, Ireland. So, I figure it’s worth a go – who knows, maybe the information will be passed to the relevant people anyway.
*Update* I’ve just received an email update saying that my email has been forwarded to the team responsible for making the videos. The comments back from the scriptwriter were that mine was the most touching case study they had read, and that they will be using my email and my experience in the videos, and thanking me for helping them to make a difference. I’m so thrilled by this! I feel like it’s a really important step.