A scandal-hit hospital trust has come under fire yet again after advertising for a maternity doctor with ‘a desire to promote normal birth’. 

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it was seeking an obstetrics and gynaecology consultant in its high risk baby unit who would support ‘active’ labour.

Yet safe birth campaigners have reacted with fury online, claiming ‘normal’ has become a codeword for ‘natural’ birth — a fixation which has led to many midwives frowning on medical intervention and caesareans, even when needed. 

This ‘obsession’, they add, has been linked to failures at a number of maternity units in recent years where hundreds of babies died, major inquiries have found. 

Experts said the wording of the ad ‘beggared belief’. Others labelled it ‘a scandal’, ‘disgusting’ and ‘extremely alarming’. 

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it was seeking a obstetrics and gynaecology consultant in its fetal and high risk unit who would support 'normal births'. The advert ¿ which has since been taken down ¿ said the medic would also have at least one year's experience working in the NHS

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it was seeking a obstetrics and gynaecology consultant in its fetal and high risk unit who would support 'normal births'. The advert ¿ which has since been taken down ¿ said the medic would also have at least one year's experience working in the NHS

Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said it was seeking a obstetrics and gynaecology consultant in its fetal and high risk unit who would support ‘normal births’. The advert — which has since been taken down — said the medic would also have at least one year’s experience working in the NHS

In response, consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram, who helped catch convicted serial baby-killer Lucy Letby at Countess of Chester Hospital, said: Anyone who applies for this should be immediately excluded from consideration for the post. Dr Jayaram, whose evidence helped convict Letby, added: '[It] should read “desire to support and promote safe birth” — if it needed to be said at all'

In response, consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram, who helped catch convicted serial baby-killer Lucy Letby at Countess of Chester Hospital, said: Anyone who applies for this should be immediately excluded from consideration for the post. Dr Jayaram, whose evidence helped convict Letby, added: '[It] should read “desire to support and promote safe birth” — if it needed to be said at all'

In response, consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram, who helped catch convicted serial baby-killer Lucy Letby at Countess of Chester Hospital, said: Anyone who applies for this should be immediately excluded from consideration for the post. Dr Jayaram, whose evidence helped convict Letby, added: ‘[It] should read ‘desire to support and promote safe birth’ — if it needed to be said at all’

Emily Barley, co-founder of the Maternity Safety Alliance, also said: Can someone from Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust explain why they're ignoring the findings of the Ockenden & Kirkup reports about the dangers of promoting "normal birth". Ms Barley, whose daughter Beatrice died at Barnsley Hospital in 2022 after staff mistakenly checked the mother's heart rate instead of the baby's, added: 'This is extremely alarming'

Emily Barley, co-founder of the Maternity Safety Alliance, also said: Can someone from Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust explain why they're ignoring the findings of the Ockenden & Kirkup reports about the dangers of promoting "normal birth". Ms Barley, whose daughter Beatrice died at Barnsley Hospital in 2022 after staff mistakenly checked the mother's heart rate instead of the baby's, added: 'This is extremely alarming'

Emily Barley, co-founder of the Maternity Safety Alliance, also said: Can someone from Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust explain why they’re ignoring the findings of the Ockenden & Kirkup reports about the dangers of promoting ‘normal birth’. Ms Barley, whose daughter Beatrice died at Barnsley Hospital in 2022 after staff mistakenly checked the mother’s heart rate instead of the baby’s, added: ‘This is extremely alarming’

The trust was embroiled in a similar controversy last year after Winchester’s Royal Hampshire County Hospital faced a claim of unfair dismissal by a former consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist. 

Martyn Pitman, who had worked at the hospital for 20 years, was sacked last March after raising concerns about midwifery care and patient safety at the hospital. 

In a post on X, Catherine Roy linked to the advert, adding: ‘Where Martyn Pitman used to work. The takeover by normal birth is now complete I think. What a scandal.’

In response, consultant paediatrician Dr Ravi Jayaram, whose evidence helped catch convicted serial baby-killer Lucy Letby at Countess of Chester Hospital, said: ‘Anyone who applies for this should be immediately excluded from consideration for the post.

He added: ‘[It] should read ‘desire to support and promote safe birth’ — if it needed to be said at all.’

Meanwhile, Mr Pitman himself, said: ‘Isn’t it astonishing Ravi, after all of the recent maternity scandals, all linked to the dangerous normalisation agenda, that this advert could be worded in that manner? Simply beggars belief.’

James Titcombe, whose son Joshua died at Furness General Hospital in 2008 from sepsis, added: ‘Siri, show me why the same issues are cause avoidable harm in maternity services again and again and again.’

It took years for Mr Titcombe to uncover the truth of what had happened to his son. 

His campaign led to the Morecambe Bay Inquiry, which found a ‘lethal mix’ of failings led to the unnecessary deaths of one mother and 11 babies.

The trust was embroiled in a scandal last year after Winchester's Royal Hampshire County Hospital (pictured) faced a claim of unfair dismissal by a former consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist

The trust was embroiled in a scandal last year after Winchester's Royal Hampshire County Hospital (pictured) faced a claim of unfair dismissal by a former consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist

The trust was embroiled in a scandal last year after Winchester’s Royal Hampshire County Hospital (pictured) faced a claim of unfair dismissal by a former consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist

James Titcombe, whose son Joshua died at Furness General Hospital in 2008 from sepsis , added: 'Siri, show me why the same issues are cause avoidable harm in maternity services again and again and again.' It took years for Mr Titcombe to uncover the truth of what had happened to his son. His campaign led to the Morecambe Bay Inquiry, which found a 'lethal mix' of failings led to the unnecessary deaths of one mother and 11 babies

James Titcombe, whose son Joshua died at Furness General Hospital in 2008 from sepsis , added: 'Siri, show me why the same issues are cause avoidable harm in maternity services again and again and again.' It took years for Mr Titcombe to uncover the truth of what had happened to his son. His campaign led to the Morecambe Bay Inquiry, which found a 'lethal mix' of failings led to the unnecessary deaths of one mother and 11 babies

James Titcombe, whose son Joshua died at Furness General Hospital in 2008 from sepsis , added: ‘Siri, show me why the same issues are cause avoidable harm in maternity services again and again and again.’ It took years for Mr Titcombe to uncover the truth of what had happened to his son. His campaign led to the Morecambe Bay Inquiry, which found a ‘lethal mix’ of failings led to the unnecessary deaths of one mother and 11 babies

Emily Barley, co-founder of the Maternity Safety Alliance, also said: ‘Can someone from Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust explain why they’re ignoring the findings of the Ockenden & Kirkup reports about the dangers of promoting ‘normal birth’.’ 

Ms Barley, whose daughter Beatrice died at Barnsley Hospital in 2022 after staff mistakenly checked her heart rate instead of her baby’s, added: ‘This is extremely alarming.’

A spokesperson for Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust told MailOnline today: ‘We are deeply sorry for our administrative error and we recognise this job description should have been updated to reflect our current maternity strategy.

‘At Hampshire Hospitals, our midwifery and obstetric teams are entirely focused on supporting women and their birth choice, and our priority is safe care.’

The idea of a ‘normal birth’ has previously been frequently promoted by respected bodies.

But the Royal College of Midwives formally abandoned its ‘normal birth’ campaign in 2017, after previously praising trusts for keeping caesarean rates low.

In 2022, a landmark 250-page report by senior midwife Donna Ockenden found Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust presided over catastrophic failings for 20 years — and did not learn from its own inadequate investigations.

It showed mothers were made to have ‘natural’ births despite the fact they should have been offered a Caesarean.

This led to babies being stillborn, dying shortly after birth or being left with severe brain damage. 

It also found 200 babies and nine mothers could have survived if they had been provided better care all while the trust’s low Caesarean rate was regarded nationally and locally as a positive.

In the wake of the Shrewsbury report, other women revealed how they had also felt pressured into not having a caesarean in other parts of the NHS. 

One of these was the MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan, who revealed in 2022 she had been ‘told I wasn’t going to have a caesarean section’ during the difficult birth of her first child.

Recalling her experience, she told LBC that after the birth of her son she realised it was ‘ridiculous’ she didn’t have the procedure and that’s ‘absolutely’ what she should have had. 

Ms Trevelyan added she was left ‘very damaged’ but fortunately her son was fine.

It comes after a damning report into the ‘postcode lottery’ of NHS maternity care last month also ruled good care is ‘the exception rather than the rule’.  

A hugely-anticipated parliamentary inquiry into birth trauma, which heard evidence from more than 1,300 women, found pregnant women are being treated like a ‘slab of meat’. 

At the time, Health Secretary Victoria Atkins labelled testimonies heard in the report ‘harrowing’ and vowed to improve maternity care for ‘women throughout pregnancy, birth and the critical months that follow’. 

NHS England chief executive Amanda Pritchard also said the experiences outlined in the report ‘are simply not good enough’. 

Last week, the Green Party also came under fire for claiming childbirth should be treated as a ‘non-medical event’.

In its maternity policies the environment-focused party called life-saving caesareans ‘risky’. 

Among its election pledges, they claimed they would ‘work to reduce the number of interventions in childbirth’ and highlights the party’s concern over the falling rates of ‘natural’ births.

The proposals, which have now been removed from the party’s website but are still circulating on social media, were branded ‘archaic’ and ‘disappointing’ by doctors.

‘I thought I was going to die’: MP Theo Clarke breaks down in tears in the Commons as she talks for the first time about ‘terrifying’ childbirth ordeal that nearly killed her, in debate about post-natal care

In an emotional speech in the House of Commons in October, Ms Clarke broke down as she described being rushed into emergency surgery after she began to bleed heavily after a difficult 40-hour labour.

She had to undergo emergency treatment after giving birth to Arabella at the Royal Stoke University Hospital in August 2022.

She bled heavily after suffering a third-degree tear and had to undergo a two-hour surgery without general anaesthetic, due to an earlier epidural.

She praised her surgeon and midwives at the hospital but criticised the ‘unacceptable’ behaviour of a nurse who refused to help her when she asked for help.

‘I was separated from my baby and rushed into the emergency room for surgery,’ she said.

‘I remember the trolley bumping into the walls and the medical staff taking me into theatre, and being slid onto the operating table. I spent over two hours awake without a general anaesthetic, and I could hear them talking about me, and obviously it was not looking good. It was the most terrifying experience of my life.’

As she struggled to continue former minister Andrea Leadsom intervened in her speech to give her time to compose herself. 

Afterwards the 38-year-old Stafford MP said: ‘I genuinely thought I was going to die.’

Source: Mail Online

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