Related Sector: Health & Social Care

Bond Solon and the Royal College of Midwives recently held the 8th annual Legal Birth Conference on 7 July 2016. The theme of this year’s conference was women’s choice and expectations – are there sufficient resources to meet women’s expectations and provide safe care? With 150 midwives and midwifery leaders from across the country (and some from abroad) the atmosphere was extremely lively and the questions interesting!

We were so excited to open our conference with Dr Bill Kirkup CBE who brought experience from leading the Morecambe Bay investigation and his work on the National Maternity Review.
His talk was followed by the annual legal midwifery update by Barrister Barbara Hewson. One of the interesting cases she discussed was of a woman who drank heavily whilst pregnant and the judges’ reasons for coming to their conclusion.

Janet Fyle MBE and Psychotherapist Leyla Hussein finished off the morning session with a discussion on FGM and mandatory reporting. The discussion offered a powerful call for midwives to discuss FGM openly and what they could do to support women through disclosure.

During the first coffee break, Bond Solon opened the raffle “Love Midwives” where we asked midwives to write down a word or sentence to describe what they love most about their job. We received such great, inspirational answers, including “Providing care for women during the most life changing event they may experience” and “The best thing I enjoy in my career is to guide the students under my care.” A big thank you to all of you who participated in the raffle.

Let’s not forget the excellent research posters created and presented by the delegates. Their colleagues voted for the poster they considered the most interesting and useful. The winning poster was presented by Moe Wolfe (LSA Midwifery Officer, Healthcare Inspector Wales) on “Exploring the value of group supervision”.

The morning sessions were a complete success and all of us were very much looking forward to the afternoon session.

Andrew Andrews MBE, Director of Health & Social Care at Bond Solon, provided a powerful introduction to the afternoon and highlighted the matter of the “postcode lottery”. Is this increasing?

It was followed by a talk from Baroness Julia Cumberlege CBE DL, who led the recent National Maternity Review, asking how can we meet women’s expectations of safe, personalised care in which the woman has choice and control? 

Then it was our question and answer panel session on managing women’s expectations, chaired by Andrew Andrews MBE. Such a great, animated Q&A session. Thought provoking questions were thrown out to the panel including:

• How can we deal with requests made by women who wish to birth at home but do not want the midwife to be in the same room as them?

• How can we manage the woman’s expectations when she requires admission to an NHS hospital but wants to continue being cared for by the independent midwife with whom she has developed a close working partnership?

• Taking into account patient choice as advocated by the recently published National maternity review, how do Midwives working in an isolated Midwife led Unit stand legally when a high risk woman requests delivery in such a unit that is against national and local guidance?

And then it was already time to close the conference. We all felt that the day flew by and you could feel that everyone thoroughly enjoyed themselves at the event. The insight brought from midwives and midwifery leaders from across the country was as valuable as the presentations from the speakers. Bond Solon and RCM could not have asked for a better result…

We would like to thank everyone who made our Legal Birth Conference such a great success and a memorable day.

RCM Conference Photo Highlights

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