22nd January 2016
On 20th January, 2017, the midwives national body released exactly these words:
Today the Scottish Government has published its national maternity review ‘The Best Start – A Five Year Forward Plan for Maternity and Neonatal Care in Scotland’. Commenting on the Plan, Mary Ross-Davie, Director for Scotland at the Royal College of Midwives, said; “This is a very welcome report and one that has the full support of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM).’
That evening, STV did a very short factual report headed:
‘The Royal College of Midwives says the recommendations [Scottish Government] have the potential to revolutionise care.’
Reporting Scotland allocated more time, acknowledged the radical nature of the changes but didn’t find time for the RCW’s statement of ‘full support’. That’s unusual, because they usually have time for any Royal College criticising Scottish Government initiatives. They did, however, have time to insert their usual wee evidence-free and source-free scare stories:
‘Across the country experiences differ, services are under strain, staffing levels, pressure on beds, more complicated births.’
‘Over 40% of midwives are in their 50s and 60s.’
Now, none of that was in any of the reports. They just decided we might like to be reminded that the Government Report and the RCW had both forgotten to scare us with anything.
The only source for the latter point I could find was on their own website in 2015. Here’s a part of it:
- the percentage of staff aged 50 or more rose from 32% of the workforce in 2011 to 42% in 2014
- but there is not a shortage of midwives in Scotland.
Note, the data is now two years-old. We can’t see just how many or how few of those over 50 were also over 60. That would be important I’d say. Note the second point?
Have that dastardly Scottish Government been ignoring this imaginary threat? See this also from as early as 14th January 2014:
‘Seven per cent rise in students starting degrees.
The number of student nurses and midwives entering degree programmes funded by the Scottish Government this year is to increase by almost seven per cent.
A total of 2,698 students will begin their training in October this year, which is a 6.6 per cent increase on the 2013/14 figure of 2,530.
In particular, the number of student midwives beginning training will increase from 140 to 160, which is a 14.3 per cent increase, and the number of new children’s nursing students will increase from 203 to 245, which is a 20.7 per cent increase.’
I’m not going to waste time rebutting the other parts of Reporting Scotland’s typical scare story.
This is classic propaganda designed to create anxiety. Creating generalised anxiety is the only convincing media affect known to researchers. Anxiety makes you fearful of change and likely to vote for the status quo when it comes to elections. Sadly, it’s probably working.