Earlier this week NSW Health published an online survey "Maternity care in NSW: What's important for you?" for families who had had a baby in the past 10 years. On their Facebook page NSW Health stated they are "reviewing the maternity care policy and want to hear what’s most important in your experience".
The survey has sparked lots of interest in six days it has been out - in large part to the lack of the option of independent midwife in Question 8 for the type of care received.
While mother of three and consumer advocate from Tamworth NSW, Samantha Wibberley, agrees with this shortcoming, she sees a series of other problems with this survey that will limit the amount of information NSW Health stands to glean from its consumers.
Samantha and I exchanged these messages yesterday morning in between shopping and dropping kids off (my responses are in blue).
Samantha had a good mind to write an article "picking apart" the survey but in this fast-moving online world and three kids under six to juggle, how's a mum to get time for that?? I don't know how she does it all, but like her, I was keen to seize the moment, so we made time for a quick recorded chat yesterday afternoon about it to share with you now. (Click link below.)
Samantha has since added that she's really happy to see the "survey being shared with so many people and that consumers are actively engaging with NSW health and wanting to provide their feedback, I hope more women continue to do so and keep on demanding a service that meets their needs. We deserve that!"
She would also like to know if NSW Health had consulted with a advisory group with consumer reps when they developed the survey. I'd love to know that too!
Samantha has been advocating for the women of her region for 18 months now, since the closure of the Midwifery Group Practice at Tamworth in April 2018. She and the women of that region stepped up to have their voices heard and the MGP has been reinstated (in a manner of speaking) and a maternity services committee with consumer representation has been established to improve the services there.
You can connect with Samantha and her community's campaign at Friends of Tamworth Maternity Services in Facebook. You can also hear about the early part of Samantha's work in this podcast (which also features two other women's struggles with their local health services).
Our thanks to Samantha for sharing her thoughts and being willing to bring them to an open forum, and to NSW Health for starting the conversation! We'd love to engage with NSW Health more! We have much to be proud of with the quality of care that can be found within NSW Health, but they could do so much better with more consultation. And we'd love to help with that process.
If you have comments you'd love to share about your maternity care, or this survey, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
~ Sally Cusack
NE PLUS ULTRA
The authors of this segment are varied, each post will indicate the author of that particular post. For more information about our team, visit here