Tuesday 26 February 2019

The Midwives have a history

The College of Midwives really doesn't like research suggesting the shift to midwife-led maternity care caused problems.

A decade ago, while I was at Canterbury, Andrea Menclova did some work showing worsened maternity outcomes with the change. The College sent a nasty letter to Seamus, our then Head of Department. Seamus entirely backed Andrea of course - as did we all. But that project then went into the file drawer; Andrea was a fairly new hire in a new country and wasn't then up for that fight.

Now Andrea's been here longer, is Associate Prof, and is reminded of that incident by an excellent piece by Michelle Duff going through another similar case.

Andrea writes, in an email distributed more broadly and which she is happy for me to share:
My name is Andrea Menclova and I’m an Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Canterbury. I was very pleased when Diana Sarfati and Ellie Wernham published their paper on the NZ lead maternity carer system. I find it appalling how they have subsequently been treated and this bullying behaviour from the College of Midwives needs to stop.

I myself wrote a paper reaching similar conclusions as Sarfati & Wernham in 2008. I presented it at a few conferences/in academic seminars. After a presentation at the Centre for Health Economics Research and Evaluation in Sydney, my Head of Department received a letter from the College of Midwives ‘warning him’ that I do research of poor quality (with many of their points completely uninformed) and asserting that: “there is a clear agenda and conflict of interest which is not stated”. At that point, I had only been in New Zealand for less than two years and had no connections in the LMC system or the NZ healthcare system more generally, had received no funding to conduct the study and had no a-priory views on maternity care. The College of Midwives have never contacted me directly. Like Peter Crampton at Otago, my then Head of Department (Seamus Hogan) fully supported me and defended academic freedom. Still, I can very much relate to Peter Crampton’s assessment that researchers attacked so aggressively by the College of Midwives then feel “beaten up and traumatised by the experience”. That’s not okay.  
I have refrained from saying much on this one, as Andrea hadn't previously wished to be identified in this.

But her work was one of the reasons that we felt it exceptional value to pay for shared care with an obstetrician for the birth of our two children. Her work wasn't more broadly distributed because of the bullying by the midwives association. 

No comments:

Post a Comment