Monday, February 04, 2008

How can this policy sit with lower tax and matched spending?

A state-funded maternity nurse for six hours a day for the first week of every child's life. That is the latest Tory policy idea being floated and yes, you may think on the face of it that it is a great idea. You may also think 'what the hell is a maternity nurses?'. You are most likely to ask that question if you're not well off because they are by no means cheap. A maternity nurse will cost you around £100 for a 12 hour shift, so if you had one for a week that's nearly a grand. That's why most people will not have heard of them.

Now think about those figures in relation to the policy. Six hours each day for a week. Let's assume they mean a full week, that's at least £350 per child born in the UK each week. Whether you get extra help for twins or perhaps triplets is unknown. In 2006 there were, approximately 14,500 babies born each week. Now multiply that by the low estimate cost and you're at about £5 million a week. That also assumes that you have a rolling maternity nurse pool of around 15,000.

At a time when there is a shortage of midwives already, are we seriously going to propose spending around a quarter of a billion each year on maternity nurses? Come off it!


wonderfulforhisage said...

Fiddling while Rome burns.

judith said...

It does seem a little OTT, but maternity nurses are not the same thing as midwives, it's about taking care of the baby whilst Mum gets herself together.

In my neck of the woods, they're called Grandmas, and I'm due to be going back to that role for the second time any day now.

It's why you need families, not just sperm donors.

Man in a Shed said...

My guess is it doesn't.

It is also potentially counter productive as the arrival of the first baby at home is time for some rapid social reappraisal. Mothers suddenly discover they need their own mothers. New mothers make friendships that can last a life time with each other.

Send in the state and none of these vital things may happen.

Also if state help is in many fathers will never develop the habit of helping out. ( Who after all is really looking forward to the years of excrement scrapping that parenthood involves - at best.)

But worse of all it makes people more dependant on the state and less on traditional family and social contacts. The state will also start judging new mothers more than they do already. My wife used to get very stressed about the health visitors comments and visits. And when a new mother is stressed - everyone is soon stressed, believe me.

Those who are lacking such support can still be fielded by the health workers and midwives who visit. ( There's a cut of when the visits stop being midwives and become health workers - can't remember when.)

Quite honestly its an incredible suggestion coming from the Conservative party.

kozmicstu said...

Surely the idea is to reduce NHS wastage in other areas to pay for it? Currently pouring billions down the drain in NHS 'investment' can't continue, so somehow somebody's going to have to sack the useless third of the employees. Streamlining the NHS while matching spending could feasibly allow all sorts of new initiatives to appear.

Of course, that's all well and good in theory... In practice the proposal would need to be drastically scaled back, and probably put together on an 'opt-in' basis, and only for your first child.

It's not an awful idea in concept, though.

mike said...

It's becoming a policy a day from this crowd. Folk are growing weary of both them, and their bloody policies.

Alex said...

Maybe but that adds up to 700,000 potential voters a year (albeit that some will be returning mothers). When you allow for the fact that: (i) they are already paying for the existing nurses, (ii) there is a limit to what you can do for a new-born baby, (iii) in the first week the baby is mostly sleeping, so each nurse will likely be assigned to several babies, the total cost is not likely to be much higher than the present cost.

Anoneumouse said...

Hmmm, not every baby is a first born. One assumes that this service will be for first time mothers. (or it will be, by the time you get down to the detail)

hitlery clanton & da oldskool cabal said...

I think we have to be optimistic and assume a Conservative government would (at the very least) be wasting slightly less money. This fractional saving (on enormous budgets) could be spent on doing nice things.
M.Gove, A.Lansley & D.Willetts etc have said its not an 'either/or' we need more midwives also.
Gordon/puppet will indeed talk of a 'blackhole', but from the european govt with the highest level of borrowing this line is starting to feel slightly tired.

mitch said...

I'm thinking low pay,joke qualification and next to useless spotty teenagers.are you thinking what I'm thinking?

Ed said...

How does this policy square with "localism" and "letting the professionals run the services"?

Why are the Tories trying to ape failed Labour ideas?

Clunking Fist said...

What an utterly LABOUR idea. Next they'll be trying to lower CO2 emmissiions...