Put… the … smartphone … down

imageYou know the time has come to go off-line when your fingers are itching to send the response “spoil sport” to the Health bureaucrat’s email politely requesting that you don’t include LGBTI in the client survey form.  Especially when that impulse is accompanied by uncontrollable public giggling.

It is Melbourne time, and past time to switch off from checking and responding to Perth emails in a responsible way.

Fighting the good fight as a health consumer advocate, in my case specifically as a maternity health consumer advocate is always going to be a delicate balancing act.  Keeping the conversation going – while remaining civil – and yet not rolling over – is a constant tightrope walk.  I am always acutely aware that I could not think of anything worse than being on call 24/7 to provide support for labouring women and any of my many gripes about the system have to take this reality into account.

And, grumpy old woman style, my gripes are many.  I feel frustration that despite WA Health having a statewide home birth policy AND an Operational Directive for all public maternity hospitals in Perth to provide back up services for the Community Midwifery Program more than half of them don’t – *and there are no consequences for these hospitals*. I feel frustration that our National Maternity Services Plan highlights the importance of continuity of midwifery care for women, as supported by all the evidence, and yet there is no funding to make this happen, and an incredible force of inertia against making this happen in our public maternity hospitals.

Some of the stories I have heard in the last few days of the hostility women and midwives face from hospitals when trying to make these models a reality make me beyond grumpy – more sad and a wee bit despondent.

I am trying to re-frame this hostility to the last stage – just before we win. And all women can access a midwife. And everyone in Australia can pronounce “midwifery” correctly – even customer support staff from telcos…