Since FTWW’s inception in 2014, we have been very much aware of how the system adopted by NHS Wales can actively prevent patients from accessing the services they need.
This is because it is perceived that each of the Welsh Health Boards should be able to provide for most people’s needs ‘in house’. Unfortunately, the longer we have been in existence, the clearer it becomes that this isn’t possible – and it is a general perception on the part of our members – and beyond – that women tend to suffer disproportionately as a result, often because of their more complex reproductive systems.
When it comes to miscarriage services, the current policy in Wales is that women receive local care – this is usually led by a named gynaecologist who may have neither the expertise or interest to deal with recurrent miscarriage.
It is only possible to access expert, specialist care, or to take part in any research trials, in England. Accessing these provisions is, predictably, incredibly difficult if you are a Wales resident, often requiring the completion of an Individual Patient Funding Request (IPFR).
Recently, FTWW was approached by North Wales resident, Jessica Evans, who has, very sadly, experienced four miscarriages.
She has been working with the charity Tommy’s which has set up, and funds, miscarriage research centres in England. She has also created a petition which has been running since October, to call for improved access to specialist miscarriage services for women in Wales, as well as gauge the views and experiences of contributors.
FTWW is hugely excited to be working with Jessica on compiling the results of this petition and drawing up a report into the issues affecting women in Wales who suffer miscarriage. The results will be presented in due course to Welsh Health Secretary, Vaughan Gething, and Chief Executive Officer of NHS Wales, Dr Andrew Goodall. We hope to see positive action from Welsh Government on the back of our lobbying.
To read Jessica’s inspiring story, and see why FTWW felt compelled to work with her on her campaign, click here.
On the 17th of September, Jessica, and FTWW released a report highlighting the woeful lack of miscarriage services in Wales: ‘Making the Case for Better Miscarriage Care in Wales’. Following on from that, the issue was raised in The Senedd by Leanne Wood, Leader of Plaid Cymru, watch it on the video below.
29th September: Our meeting with the Health Department this week was a positive one. They seemed to genuinely listen to what we had to say, and the report had helped them to properly understand the issues that currently exist with miscarriage care in Wales.
We are now waiting to hear the outcome of their discussions with senior colleagues, and the Health Secretary. We are hopeful that they will come back with a constructive plan for how we can move forward to improve the level of care that women are experiencing in Wales. We have also asked that they look at how they can make quickly accessing specialised care for recurrent miscarriage easier for women in Wales.
We would like to extend a big thank you to BBC Wales News for continuing to cover our campaign to improve miscarriage services in Wales. Thank you also to Carys who was brave enough to share her story, we know that it can’t have been easy!