These workshops cover the services which could support or affect families, in the transition to parenthood. Its not what NCT provides, although in the future it is possible there will be more overlap. The purpose was to outline some current services for people becoming parents and draw, from those attending, ideas on what they felt parents needed at this stage in their lives. We value enormously the knowledge, thoughts and input of NCT workers.
Yes we are senior advisers but we most certainly do not know everything.
We start by trying to set out a wide approach to what we mean by ‘services’. Some are obvious, like maternity care, which the majority of people expect to get free of charge via the NHS. Other things that parents need are not usually called services but are part of the accepted legal and economic provision for parents, like maternity/paternity leave and pay, child benefit and tax credits. Goods and equipment may be bought commercially, obtained via voluntary sector sources or sometimes hired from the NHS, a charity or local authority in certain circumstances.
These criteria describe a ‘perfect’ solution that should be snapped up by the ‘powers that be’. Unfortunately, even if we can find one that meets all of these, there may be other obstacles to acceptance or implementation. However, we know that the better we can argue in these terms, the more success we are likely to have.
Most people have been affected by reduced incomes in the last couple of years, through pay freezes, unemployment - particularly affecting women and young people and increased inflation, which affects necessities such as food, fuel and transport costs . Government cuts in services have also affected women and the poorest families most. NCT is a member of End Child Poverty and the End Fuel Poverty Coalition. Children living in cold homes are more than twice as likely to suffer from respiratory problems as children in warm homes, and mental health is affected negatively by fuel poverty and cold housing. W omen experience more complex pregnancy and birth, owing to mothers’ average age increasing and more women with long-term medical conditions including obesity and diabetes. Midwives are not yet in short supply but the workforce has a high average age, and training opportunities have been restricted to a smaller number of universities.
Some Maternity Service Liaison Committees (MSLCs) are functioning well in Scotland but – as in other parts of the UK – some are not. Their track record is robust and NCT will work to strengthen and maintain the MSLC model.
Families come is all shapes and sizes, and everyone has different needs. NCT needs to draw on the knowledge and resources of members and other organisations to improve our ability to influence services which are appropriate for all families.
The 2020 strategy calls on all those representing NCT to consider the ways in which we can exert and strengthen Influence on politicians and policy-makers, to improve and enhance services for parents. Growth whatever people’s circumstances, NCT needs to ensure appropriate services are provided. Its possible we could provide some more services ourselves? eg in the first couple of weeks, birth companions, more peer supporters, NCT person on every health board, link to every infant feeding lead, Head of midwifery, and community health partnership board. Better geographical and social reach Thought leadership Possible ideas include a commission/ Inquiry on transition to parenthood Continue to make the case and lobby effectively for user involvement at all levels Parents to influence services and infrastructure locally Many opportunities to be involved in decision making – Dominate early parenting policy discussions at local, national and UK-wide wide level. Ensuring consistently inclusive language and examples of NCT work where relevant Parents need a range of support and to know who provides. Ideally all should know who to contact. Vibrant voluntary sector is important. Need hvs who are in touch with what is going on and signpost, Partnership How should we do it ? eg Links with other NGOs, Refugee Council, Child Poverty Action, and other Orgs that lobby on benefits to include/think more about the TTP Examples of effective working: – eg we have worked with transport groups while getting them to focus on TTP; this adds strength to their message and extends into pregnancy or small children Or with Fuel poverty coalition – many babies born in September, women at home on maternity leave with young baby struggling to pay fuel bills. We currently work with Business and Skills, Health Scotland, Cabinet office because all influencing families. End Fuel Poverty and Maternity Action, Baby Feeding Law Group among others. We always need to listen to parents’ experiences of services, but especially important now to have timely feedback. Find out about current services – eg how well are services integrated, how are children’s centres affected by cuts, are they reaching people they need to? Listen to people: Parents, expectant and new parents, health professionals, community staff, social workers, linkworkers, advocates,
Creating an appropriate infrastructure Scotland
Creating an appropriateinfrastructure of services for those in the transition to parenthood: What are families offered, what do they want and how can NCT make sure they get it?
Elizabeth DuffNCT Senior Policy AdviserRosie DoddsNCT Senior Policy Adviser
People in the transition to parenthood (TTP) arelikely to need services in acute and communityhealth, public health, early education andchildcare.Parents also have needs for employment,income, housing, nutrition, transport, goods &equipment for babies, security, social support,leisure, communication and information, allappropriate for themselves and their families.
To lobby for what we know parents want …NCT provides, offers or stimulates solutions- which meet the needs of politicians, policymakers and service providers- for both short-term successes and long-termbenefits- in terms of finance, efficiency and outcomes
Current policy ‘snapshot’• In economic recession, families have reduced incomes: one in three Scottish households is ‘living in fuel poverty’ impacting especially on parents at home with small children• Evaluation of ‘Keep Childbirth Natural & Dynamic’ recently published• Plans for a national survey of women’s experience of maternity care in 2012• Government developing ‘National Parenting Strategy’ is an opportunity to infuence
NCT’s new strategy – ways of working•Growth – we will continue to increase our reach, bothgeographic and social, to all parents and expand our postnataland early years services.•Thought leadership – we will use our position of influence tochange the perception of parenthood and create breakthroughsolutions to address the dilemmas parents face.•Partnership – to deliver on ambitious targets we will work moreformally with other organisations to increase the supportavailable to new parents and expand their availability to reacheven more of the population
• Thank you for viewing our workshop Please stay in touch and feed through any news, thoughts and ideas.• Contributions, further information or thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com