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Failings 'add to miscarriage pain'

Women are experiencing unnecessary heartbreak as they miscarry due to poor NHS services, two new surveys suggest.

A Mumsnet poll of around 1,400 women who had a miscarriage in the last decade found 63% of women who miscarried at home following a hospital scan were not offered adequate pain relief, while 48% of those who were in hospital for their miscarriage were treated alongside pregnant women or those with newborn babies, causing unnecessary distress.

More than a fifth (21%) of those referred for a scan had to wait three days or more for it, while 35% of women who needed a surgical procedure had to wait four days or longer. Overall, 29% said the information provided by healthcare staff was poor or inadequate.

A second survey of more than 500 women who miscarried found 14% were told they needed to experience four or more in a row before they could be tested for a cause. Recommendations are for women to be referred after suffering three miscarriages in a row.

The poll also found 62% of women were given no information by their GP about further testing following miscarriage, while 12% of women were placed on the labour ward to recover after a miscarriage and 32% were put on a general ward.

Almost half (44%) said they did not feel they were treated sensitively by medical staff after their miscarriage, while 69% said there was not enough support to women to help increase the chances of a subsequent healthy pregnancy.

Mumsnet members have developed a five-point Miscarriage Code of Care, calling for supportive staff, access to scans and more information on treatment.

Mumsnet co-founder Justine Roberts said: "There is no getting away from the hurt of miscarriage, but there are a number of simple changes that could make a considerable difference to the level of trauma miscarrying parents undergo."

Professor Tom Bourne, consultant gynaecologist at Imperial College NHS Trust, London, said: "Possible miscarriage is one of the most common reasons women are seen in hospital. The Mumsnet Code of Care addresses some of the fundamental principles involved in caring for women at this difficult time and is to be applauded."

Health minister Anne Milton said: "Miscarriage is devastating for women and their partners, so it is essential that they get the best care to deal with the physical and emotional effects."


From Belfast Telegraph