May 9, 2015

A couple of major things have happened this week to make me write this blog.  Save the Children published their State of the Worlds Mothers report The Urban Disadvantage Save the children 2015 and the United Kingdom voted for a Conservative government to return to power with a voting majority.

On the face of it, you may think that the two things are not connected however anyone working in healthcare in the UK and sees how families with little income and poor housing are coping here in a rich country like the UK, will see parallels.

Inequality in health has been the buzz word for many UK and Global reports in public health and midwifery for years. Marmot 2010  How to work with areas of deprivation to ensure that the health care needs of this population is met has been the challenge for National and Local funding bodies, charities and individuals. Sadly I feel we are still no further forward in balancing this picture.

As a midwife I am proud of the healthcare that is provided in this country for its citizens. I know the NHS has saved lives.  But we are in danger of continuing the “us and them” of ignoring the poor.  The people we put in power when they travel in their government funded cars, have expensive dinners, go home to their 2nd home in the country, buy their clothes from expensive boutiques, pay their live in nanny, have to be able to step outside of their world and step into the shoes of the British poor.

There is currently an innovation going on in Maternity #MatExp https://twitter.com/search?q=%23MatExp&src=tyah driving for a better more inclusive approach to maternity care.  Gill Phillips is the founder of Whose Shoes https://twitter.com/WhoseShoes , she created a tool for people working in healthcare to explore the roles of people involved in health care to provide a better more inclusive, responsive service.

I believe it is only by the members of parliament experiencing a day to day hand to mouth existence. Being worried about whether to pay the fuel bill or buy food; Being concerned about cheap child care so that they can still work; Having to go to food banks because the money has just run out this week, that they may clearly understand what needs to be done.

There are some very proud individuals in some of our biggest cities who refuse to seek handouts from the government.  But there is no excuse in this very rich country for there to be such a disparity in living standards.

Having worked recently in Cambodia the poor are clear to see living on the streets of Phnom Penh. The poor in the UK tend to be hidden behind closed badly fitting doors

I urge Mr Cameron and his party to be the party that acknowledges this inequality and really sets out to help the majority of families in this UK to have a better life.  That healthcare remains free for all and families are encouraged to access all the help that is available. The result will be a healthier population


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