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Posted by: Begonia 07 August, 2015 09:09

Good morning everyone!

Yesterday we met with KCH at the Maternity Services Liaison Committee to discuss the issue of the removal of the specialist breastfeeding midwives from the Milkspots. Thank you so much to those of you who were able to attend, and speak so eloquently.

KCH are still unable to tell us who will staff the Milkspots from the end of September. We were told that the review period will extend to the end of March, but the review process is still unclear. The midwives involved are still undergoing consultation and the conclusions of this are expected to be reached by the end of August, according to documents we have managed to secure via a FOI request. The documents are consultation papers, although we know that neither councils, GSTT nor MSLC were consulted before this decision was announced. The changes in service, whatever they may be, will come into force on 28th September.

We had asked for the current service to be assessed in order to have a point of comparison; this has not yet been carried out but we received confirmation that it would be undertaken.

We heard from specialist healthcare professionals from the Tongue Tie Clinic and the Neo-natal ward, both of whom were very concerned about the level of knowledge and experience that future staff on rota at the Milkspots would have. The Tongue Tie Clinician told us that the same change in Bromley resulted in an increase in misdiagnoses.

We were told to trust the decisions that were being made, but this is very difficult when our main concerns – that women with complex feeding problems would struggle to obtain quick and expert support – were not addressed. We were told that the reorganisation of the community midwife teams and the skill sharing that would “happen” by repatriating the specialist midwives into the hospital would address most, if not all, feeding issues.

Of course, we know this isn’t the case; your baby latches on in the hospital and that’s great; two days later, your milk has come in, you’re engorged, baby is looking for a pinhead on a melon, milk supply issues ensue, mastitis develops, tongue tie goes undetected when a sleepy newborn seems to latch, you’re told that the latch “looks fine” even though you’re in toe-curling pain. The list goes on.

Let’s continue the fight to keep breastfeeding well supported in our community, particularly to the minority of women who have the very complex difficulties that only specialist midwives can attend to. Keep writing to your MPs, the hospital Chief Exec, tweeting #savemilkspots. We have written an open letter of concern to the Chief Exec which will go out to media today and we will let you know the response of that. Thank you all for your continued support - the hospital serves YOU, and you have a right to a voice!

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