Baby Nurses for all

I’ve been reading with amused interest the Tory proposals to provide baby nurses for all new mums.  It comes ahead of tomorrow’s Childhood Report commissioned by the Conservatives.

They would like to see midwives helping out in the homes of new mums, giving them support with the baby and also, if they are to model their plans on the Dutch scheme (kraamzorg), providing practical help such as tending to older siblings, cooking, shopping and suchlike.  The Tories say it will bring about better social equality and that all children should get support rather than just the wealthy who can afford to hire help but I’m not so sure that the one week of home-help they are proposing will radically change much in the long-term.

I had to smile at the Tories attempt to actually care about inequalities when everybody knows they traditionally bat for the privileged.  No matter how compassionate their outer face is, the hard facts are that their policies always benefit the wealthy first. 

But in all fairness, I think it’s a good idea to offer this kind of help to disadvantaged families should they want and need it because not everybody has the luxury of having the wider family (grandparents etc.) around and let’s face it, when a new baby comes along, an extra pair of hands is a huge help.  But it will be an added expense to an already burdened NHS.  Of course the Tories will say they can budget for these NHS one-week super-nannies and still give us large tax-cuts.  It’s not the first time they’ve promised to move mountains from the safe position of shadow cabinet.

Well the Tories had better be prepared to create a new health-care role that has a lower-than-midwife status because I can’t possibly imagine existing midwives agreeing to become nanny and au-pair to these families.  I know midwives.  There is a lot of professional snobbery among the nursing and midwifery ranks.  Midwives have to complete years of intensive training and I can’t imagine there would be many of them who would be happy to be told they have to include cooking and cleaning in their midwifery duties.

Anyway, isn’t Grandma the New Nanny?


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Dave On Fire on February 5, 2008 at 1:12 am

    Yeah, I’m still waiting for the other shoe to drop. This seems too good to be true. The French have something similar, and it’s not midwives doing this. If anything, it could even work as something of a job creation scheme. Really does seem too good to be true.

    Wait a minute, there goes the other shoe… they’re lying! 😉


  2. Our experience of midwives here in London was not good at all except during the birth. Then they were fantastic.

    This Tory scheme sounds frankly quite bizarre, a policy idea made up on the hoof. I’m not sure many people would like suddenly having a stranger about and just for one week. The rich hire their nanny months before the birth so that a relationship and expectations are clear. There is also a direct employment relationship.

    Sorry but I don’t really think the Tories no what they’re talking about. They’re trying, I give them that but, they need to try harder.


  3. Lol Dave. Yes, they must be lying. It’s safe to promise things when in opposition and you know there’s probably not much chance of ever having your pre-election pledges put to the test because you’re just not gonna win.

    And yes, there is certainly potential for a new health-care role.

    Hi Matt, I know what you mean but apparently, the scheme works really well in Holland (and France too according to Dave). And although I personally don’t think I’d want a stranger in my home for so long, I think there is a definite need in some home/family circumstances.

    I would imagine it would be advantageous for the maternity nurse and the family to build up a relationship in the antenatal stages to avoid embarassing intimacies.


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