Supporting those who witness bad practice

ISSN 0256-5004 (Print)

AIMS Journal, 2014, Vol 26 No 4

Beverley Beech makes some suggestions

It is not uncommon for those who are supporting a woman during childbirth to witness bad practice and then wonder what can be done about it. Here are someprinciples:

Advise the woman to obtain her own copy of her case notes (it is not uncommon for the notes to be at odds with what was obser ved).

Talk to those who also witnessed the incident and determine whether or not they would support your view of what occurred.

When you have a quiet moment, sit down and write an account of what you obser ved, who was present and what action was taken at the time.

Discuss what happened with the couple, if possible, and determine what they want to do about it. If the woman has been traumatised then it may be many weeks before you are able to raise the issue.

Support them with what they have decided they would like to do about it. If they do not feel able to make a complaint they may be willing for you to make a complaint on their behalf.

Obtain a copy of ‘Making a complaint about maternity care’ from AIMS.

Contact AIMS and discuss the options.

Then what to do? There are a number of options:

Discuss what happened with the staff concerned.

Arrange a meeting with the Head of Midwifery (HoM) to discuss your concerns.

Alternatively, particularly if you feel that the HoM will not take action, write to the Chief Executive with a copy to the HoM. This ensures that senior management are aware of the issue and there is a record of a previous concern should a similar event occur again.

If you observed malpractice or negligence, you have the option of reporting the member of staff to their professional body:

  • midwives, nurses and health visitors – Nursing and Midwifer y Council
  • doctors – General Medical Council
  • social workers – Health Care Professions Council

Beverley Lawrence Beech


The AIMS Journal spearheads discussions about change and development in the maternity services..

AIMS Journal articles on the website go back to 1960, offering an important historical record of maternity issues over the past 60 years. Please check the date of the article because the situation that it discusses may have changed since it was published. We are also very aware that the language used in many articles may not be the language that AIMS would use today.

To contact the editors, please email: journal@aims.org.uk

We make the AIMS Journal freely available so that as many people as possible can benefit from the articles. If you found this article interesting please consider supporting us by becoming an AIMS member or making a donation. We are a small charity that accepts no commercial sponsorship, in order to preserve our reputation for providing impartial, evidence-based information. You can make donations at Peoples Fundraising. To become an AIMS member or join our mailing list see Join AIMS

AIMS supports all maternity service users to navigate the system as it exists, and campaigns for a system which truly meets the needs of all.

Latest Content

Journal

« »

Report of Parliamentary Debate on B…

AIMS Journal, 2024, Vol 36, No 1 By Elle Gundry The first parliamentary debate on birth trauma took place in the House of Commons on Thursday 19th October 2023. [1] Thank…

Read more

Doulas supporting clients to make a…

AIMS Journal, 2024, Vol 36, No 1 By Anne Glover I work with women from all walks of life, but one thing that is important to them all, is having a positive and satisfying…

Read more

My Complaint

AIMS Journal, 2024, Vol 36, No 1 Editor’s note: In this quite shocking account of disrespect and neglect, Grace describes the arrival of her first baby. With Grace’s perm…

Read more

Events

« »

AIMS Workshop: Focus on Birth witho…

Join us for an interactive online AIMS workshop "Focus on Birth Without Bias" with Hannah King, midwife and professional doctorate student who is examining the contributi…

Read more

Screening of the new 'Born at Home'…

Rosanna Sunshine from the Mother Rite is hosting a screening of the new 'Born at Home' Documentary with a showing in Bath on 22 May 2024 - please click here to find out m…

Read more

ARM Summer Meeting: The courage to…

https://midwifery.org.uk/events/

Read more

Latest Campaigns

« »

Evidence Submission to The House of…

Find submission on UK Parliament webite https://committees.parliament.uk/writtenevidence/129150/pdf Introduction AIMS (Association for Improvements in the Maternity Servi…

Read more

What are the priorities for midwife…

AIMS is proud to be supporting the RCM's Research Prioritisation project as a Project Partner and with one of our volunteers on the Steering Group www.rcm.org.uk/promotin…

Read more

Parliamentary Inquiry into Birth Tr…

Introduction to AIMS and why AIMS is making a submission Since 1960, AIMS has been the leading advocate for improvements in UK maternity care. We have national and intern…

Read more