The Sunday Times: letter published in response to “doctors hopeless at childbirth”

This morning a letter by Dr Samantha Batt-Rawden of The Doctors’ Assocation UK was published in the Sunday Times in response to an article published last week entitled “Top midwife: Doctors ‘hopeless at childbirth’”. The letter attracted over 1600 signatures including that of patient safety expert James Titcombe. The letter can be found below in full and an edited version on The Sunday Times website. 

Sir, I was appalled to read such frankly dangerous vitriol from Caroline Flint, the former President of the Royal College of Midwives [Top midwife: Doctors ‘hopeless at childbirth’ March 18th]. No mother should ever be made to feel like a failure for requiring medical intervention during childbirth, which could quite possibly be life-saving for both baby and mother. It appears very little has been learnt here following the tragic deaths at Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust, where an investigation found that a small group of midwives were contributing to unsafe deliveries due to their desire to see women give birth without medical interventions “at any cost”. 

We, as doctors, recognise that such a fringe view is not held by the majority of midwives, who are truly expert and work closely with us. Flint’s comments appear completely out of touch with the ethos of a modern multi-disciplinary team; instead of promoting dangerous and outdated views that lack evidence, perhaps she would do better to use her platform to foster a spirit of close co-operation, recognising the importance of working together to ensure that babies are delivered into this world as safely as possible.