Day Four #SafeBirths – Pratheep
Published 29th November 2018
Pratheep is a volunteer GP at our London clinic, where we treat asylum seekers, undocumented migrants, homeless people and other vulnerable patients.
Doctors of the World has a specific women and children’s clinic that is lead by female clinicians. This is an extremely welcoming set up for female patients who may be accessing healthcare in this country for the first time.
As a male GP, I do not participate in the Women and Children’s Clinic but I have still met a number of pregnant women during our clinic ours. The cases that I have seen have either been at the very early stages of pregnancy or post delivery.
The first maternity case I had come across in Doctors of the World was a young lady and her partner who had recently discovered that they were expecting. As they had had no prior exposure to the NHS, the way antenatal care works needed to be explained to them.
The first pregnancy for any patient can be a daunting experience with so many concerns and queries. The added complexity in their case was the fact that they were not registered with a GP, had no formal documentation and were afraid of the cost of receiving NHS care.
In my normal practice, antenatal care is rather straightforward: I take a history, examine the patient and then they can self-refer themselves onto the midwives who take over their care. It’s all over and done in ten minutes.
When you are unaware of the system and processes, when your command of the English language isn’t good enough for you to fill out the questionnaire. Or you can’t speak fluently to the administrative team you call to make the self referral and when you’re told how much the cost of having a child would be, when you’re either not working or doing jobs that pay far less than minimum wage: Imagine the dread you would be feeling. This is all on top of having your first child.