Friday brief: Call the (retired) midwife
Northamptonshire’s two general hospitals appeal to recently retired midwives to return to work to support junior staff, plus a news round up and some things to do this weekend
Sorry for the lateness today - bit of a technical glitch.
As part of our regular Friday brief, this week we will be looking at the issue of midwife shortages in Northamptonshire in the wake of the Ockendon review as well as news from across the county.
So far this week
We exclusively revealed that the leader of the Labour opposition on the unitary authority Gareth Eales has stood down due to personal reasons. This report was sent our only to our paying members and you can read it in full by joining them here
We’ve also had a few new members join this week so if you are new to NN Journal you can catch up on our full archive here
NN Friday Focus
Midwives in Northamptonshire who have retired over the last year will soon be receiving a letter asking them to return to their former roles to help out junior staff.
Deputy director of midwifery for both hospitals Mara Tonks told the Kettering General Hospital board of the move that was being made amid a shortage of midwives and an influx of student midwives set to join the service shortly.
Mara Tonks was giving an update on the county’s maternity services in the wake of the shocking findings of the Ockendon review published on Wednesday, concerning the maternity services of Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust.
The review, which looked at almost 1500 births at the Shropshire trust over a 20 year period found 201 babies had died unnecessarily and that in some instances mothers who had died were even blamed for their own deaths. Author Donna Ockendon referenced a bullying culture and also said that even as late as this week she had been contacted by staff to say they were scared to speak out and had been told by management not to.
Her review followed her interim report published in December 2020 which made a series of seven recommendations that all NHS maternity services had to comply with.
Northampton General was compliant in all seven areas but Kettering General was only partially compliant in 20 per cent.
Mara Tonks said significant progress had been made since then and KGH is now fully compliant and the two hospitals would now look at the 15 new recommendations made by the final Ockendon review, with a report back to the board in May.
Mention was made of a report given to the hospital’s people committee which outlined the current vacancy situation in maternity services, however this has not been put into the public domain and was not included in the 245 page papers yesterday.
Mara Tonks said midwife shortage was a national issue and other measures to boost midwifery numbers in Northants included recruiting midwives from overseas and the number of students being trained had doubled in recent years.
Last November a series of demonstrations took place across the country saying there was a crisis in the service and calling on the Government to listen and reduce the demand on staff.
We spoke to Northampton midwife Jaycie Wall, 36, who had handed in her notice due to the demands of the job on her own mental health.
Health secretary Savid Javid has promised the Ockendon review will lead to change in the country’s maternity service provision.
Have you suffered a bad birth experience in Northamptonshire? If so you can contact NN Journal reporter Sarah Ward in confidence on 07887 500545
News in brief
Calls have been made for rapid action from West Northants leaders after the launch of a green initiative. Sustainable West Northamptonshire has pledged to ensure the area’s unitary council has reached net zero by 2030 and that residents do the same in their households by 2045.
Chair of Climate Action-West Northamptonshire, Jane Wood said:
“It is very encouraging to see the level of commitment to sustainability from the top down within WNC. We welcome the council’s use of the UN Sustainable Development Goals as a framework, however not all of those goals directly address the climate and environmental crisis. I would want to see WNC priorities reflecting the urgent need to take effective action on the causes and impacts of climate change.
“The launch event gave all the right messages, this must be followed by rapid action with WNC being seen to lead the way for our communities. Inevitably the council will need to make decisions that are not popular with some people, so it is important for activists and voluntary groups like CA-WN to continue our awareness-raising activities so that everyone recognises the need for change.”
A woman suffered a serious sexual assault in Corby in the early hours of Sunday. She was found by passers by at 1am after the attack close behind the Tesco Superstore close to Longcroft Road.
Police have not said whether anyone has been arrested in connection with the attack and are appealing for anyone who may have seen the incident or witnessed the woman before the attack (she is white, has blonde hair and is slim) to contact them on 101. Incident number is 22000173922
The county’s unitary councils were created one year ago today. Watch out for our in depth report on the issue which will come out on one of our newsletters early next week.
👀 Bette and Joan by White Cobra and directed by well known former BBC reporter Martin Borley Cox is being staged tonight and tomorrow at the Royal and Dengate in Northampton. There’s still a chance to book a ticket
♯Supergrass are playing at the Roadmender tomorrow from 7.30pm
👏 TV personality and former MP Gyles Brandreth is taking his show to the Castle Theatre in Wellingborough on Sunday at 5pm
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