MIDWIVES from across the country who met in Oxford last week for the Royal College of Midwives’ annual event have criticised NHS paymasters.

Members met at the Kassam Stadium on Wednesday to hear from speakers including Dr Debra Bick, of King’s College, London.

She gave the 2014 Zepherina Veitch Memorial Lecture on concerns about Government emphasis on post-natal care.

She said: “It is worrying that there is a low-level priority given to post-natal care by those who hold the NHS’s purse strings.

“Consequently, NHS services for women post-birth are fragmented and fail to meet needs of babies, mothers, their partners and families with no consideration of the long-term impact that shortages in postnatal care have for maternal and child health, wider society and future NHS resources.”

She asked: “Are definitions of the role of the midwife post-birth, which were first introduced into midwifery practice over 100 years ago, not appropriate for the 21st century?”

Jane Hervé, head of midwifery at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs hospitals including the John Radcliffe in Oxford, took part in a panel discussion on post-natal care.

Oxford-based RCM president Lesley Page also addressed the conference.

Chief executive Cathy Warwick said: “Our main priority as midwives must be to ensure the safety and quality of care for mothers, babies and families is not threatened. Getting care right from the start is vital for future health.”

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