Write to your MP - our 'how to' guide

The fact that you are on this page suggests that you are up for contacting your MP. Great!

Please read on for guidance on what to say and what to ask for...

How to find and contact your MP

You can find your MP and their details at http://findyourmp.parliament.uk/.

There are a number of ways in which you can get in touch with your MP but there’s nothing better than a face to face visit; they will generally hold a weekly surgery in their constituency which you can attend. You’ll need to ring their constituency office to find out when it’s happening but in our quest to raise awareness and to see MPs sign the parliamentary motion (Early Day Motion) there is no more effective route to take than to meet them.

Alternatively write to them at the House of Commons (see guideline letter below)

Or, you can email them – use the form on http://www.writetothem.com/ to enter your own message based on the guidelines below.

Or, if they are on twitter you could tweet them  (@MP please sign EDM 543 The Birth I Want Campaign). Find out if your MP is on twitter here http://www.tweetminster.co.uk/mps

The most important thing is that we want the content of each contact to be different. That way it smacks less of an organised campaign. You are writing to your MP as a concerned constituent  (there is no point in writing to an MP who is not yours) so you will want to briefly outline how maternity care has impacted on you personally before outlining the specific asks.

Make sure you ask them to sign Early Day Motion 543 – The Birth I Want Campaign. Happy writing!

If your MP is a minister they will be unable to sign an EDM, but you can still ask them if they support it in principle and if they'd write to the Secretary of State.

Guidelines for letter writing

1. Explain you are a constituent writing to ask them to sign an Early Day Motion supporting woman-centred maternity care (care that is widely recognised as giving better outcomes for mother and baby at less cost than a one size fits all, obstetrics approach)

2. Explain your own experience with midwives. If good explain what made it good (continuity of care? Being where you wanted to be?) but also explain that not every woman gets good care. If your experience was bad, explain how having a good relationship with your midwife and/or a different birth location would have helped. Repeat here that offering choice saves money.  (Maybe quote the Birthplace Study, published in the British Medical Journal, April 2012 that shows  it costs nearly £600 less to have a baby at home than in a hospital and £200 less to have a baby in a Midwife Led Unit than in a hospital. Explain that currently 90% of women have their babies in hospital, yet many low risk mothers-to-be, who could be elsewhere are often being given no choice but to have their baby in hospital. A recent RCM survey of 1800 pregnant women and new mothers showed that 64% of them had not been offered the choice to birth in a Midwife Led Unit).

3. Point out that successive governments have promised a woman-centred approach to maternity care but have failed to deliver it except in a piecemeal fashion. You may also want to add here that Independent Midwifery will also not be an option come next year if the insurance issue is not addressed – even less choice!

4. Ask them to sign cross party Early Day Motion number 543 (The Birth I Want Campaign) AND, as an extra ask, would they write to the Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt asking him to outline how he will ensure pledges by Andrew Lansley will be taken on by and delivered through Clinical Commissioning Groups and within what sort of time frame?

5. Pledges from Sec of State for Health Andrew Lansley on 16th May 2012 were:

  • Making sure the investment in a record 5,000 midwives currently in training means that women will have one named midwife who will oversee their care during pregnancy and after they have had their baby
  • Making sure that investment also means that every woman has one-to-one midwifery care during labour and birth
  • Making sure that investment means parents-to-be will get the best choice about where and how they give birth.

6. Insert or attach the full text of the EDM so that they can read and agree it without having to search for it.

That’s it!

The EDM text follows the letter I wrote to my MP Stephen Gilbert – it’s important your letter is not identical but it may help as a guide.

Letter to my MP

Stephen Gilbert MP                                                                                                                       
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA

 

Dear Stephen Gilbert,

Re: Woman centred maternity care – EDM 543 The Birth I Want Campaign

I am writing to you as your constituent and mum of three, to draw your attention to the importance of woman-centred maternity services that truly reflect the wants and needs of the mother-to-be. I would also like to ask you to sign EDM 543; The Birth I Want Campaign.  

Woman-centred care means making the options of hospital birth, birth centre birth and homebirth available in every part of the country so that women can make informed decisions about where their baby will be born. It also means offering one-to-one midwifery care. This type of care not only delivers better outcomes for mothers and their babies, it also delivers cost savings.

I have been lucky enough to experience fantastic one- to- one midwifery care through all three of my pregnancies (although with my third I had to employ an Independent Midwife in order to have the homebirth I wanted as my NHS community team were unable to guarantee their presence at the birth if their unit was busy). I believe that having a strong relationship with my midwives gave me confidence and strength. I also believe that being at home, where I wanted to be, meant that I was calm and relaxed – essential ingredients for a positive birth and for longer term well-being.

I realise I have been extremely lucky to have 3 positive births, however, the third was only possible through employing an Independent Midwife. This reveals a lack of choice for mothers-to-be in the county and it is a problem that I know exists in many parts of the country. Infact many women are also lacking the kind of one-to-one care I was so glad to receive.

Offering mothers choice of place of birth and providing one to one care not only improves outcomes for mothers and their babies, it saves money too. The Birthplace Study, published in the British Medical Journal, April 2012 showed that  it costs nearly £600 less to have a baby at home than in a hospital and £200 less to have a baby in a Midwife Led Unit than in a hospital.  Currently 90% of women have their babies in hospital, yet many low risk mothers-to-be, who could be elsewhere are often being given no choice but to have their baby in hospital. A recent RCM survey of 1800 pregnant women and new mothers showed that 64% of them had not been offered the choice to birth in a Midwife Led Unit.

In May 2012 the then Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley pledged that every mother-to-be should have one-to-one care (now also issued as guidance from NICE, Sept 2012) and choice over where and how they give birth.  Previous governments have made the same pledge to no avail. To deliver such woman-centred care to every mother-to-be, the new Clinical Commissioning Groups will need to hold this governments pledges at the centre of their plans, must have the budget available to deliver each of the options mothers say they want (hospital birth, birth centre birth and homebirth) and must be held to account if they do not deliver in accordance with government direction as outlined by Andrew Lansley in his May 2012 statement.

It would be great if you were able to sign cross party EDM 543 (see text  below) and even  better if you were also able to write to Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt  to ask him how he will ensure that Clinical Commissioning Groups’s  take on and deliver recent government pledges, and to what timetable.

  • Making sure the investment in a record 5,000 midwives currently in training means that women will have one named midwife who will oversee their care during pregnancy and after they have had their baby

  • Making sure that investment also means that every woman has one-to-one midwifery care during labour and birth

  • Making sure that investment means parents-to-be will get the best choice about where and how they give birth.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

EDM 543 – The Birth I Want Campaign

This house welcomes the launch of the campaign by mothers, for mothers 'The Birth I Want' , which brings mothers and mothers-to-be to the forefront of the midwifery debate, ensuring that their personal experiences and knowledge of maternity and midwifery services are heard in the case for greatly improved maternity services tailored to the needs of each woman, supporting her through pregnancy and childbirth and beyond to achieve the best outcomes; notes that woman-centred care, led by the wants and needs of the woman is widely evidenced as the most effective way to deliver the best maternity services in terms of outcomes for the mother, child and in minimising unnecessary medical and surgical interventions and the associated costs to the NHS; further notes that successive governments have promised to deliver women- centred maternity care since Changing Childbirth report recommendations in 1993, most recently in the statement by the Secretary of State for Health Andrew Lansley on 15th May 2012; but also notes that as yet no government has delivered on these promises; and calls on the Secretary of State to urgently publish clear, costed and timetabled plans to implement the approach he has pledged.