Archive for March, 2009

Complaint form letter (regarding health professionals)

March 26, 2009

This is a form letter for complaining about a healthcare professional who has given you wrong or misleading information about breastfeeding, who has been unsupportive, or even antagonistic towards breastfeeding. I urge you to use it, or something similar, EVERY time you encounter BFing-unfriendly health professionals, because it is absolutely vital that these people be properly educated and not spouting rubbish at every available opportunity. If the medical schools can’t get the job done, we’re going to have to do it ourselves. (Please note this is UK-specific, with references to the National Health Service, etc, but could be adapted for use elsewhere.)

[complainant’s name]

[complainant’s address and telephone number]

[date]

 

Dear Sir or Madam [or insert name of superior/PCT here],

 

            I, [complainant’s name], am writing to express my concern regarding an employee of the [name of primary care trust]. [Offender’s name], who is a [health visitor/community midwife/hospital midwife/GP (delete as appropriate or fill in another title)] at [name of health care centre, surgery, or hospital] has given me inaccurate, unhelpful, and potentially damaging information regarding breastfeeding my child [name and age of complainant’s child]. I found [offender’s name]’s conduct and information to be unprofessional, and am deeply concerned at the impact that such misinformation could have on someone who is not well-informed on the subject.

            [Here, if you have time and desire to do so, you should detail what misinformation the offender badgered you with]

            For the record, the World Health Organization guidelines on breastfeeding state that:

            “Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is the recommended way of feeding infants, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.

To enable mothers to establish and sustain exclusive breastfeeding for six months, WHO and UNICEF recommend:

-Initiation of breastfeeding within the first hour of life;

-Exclusive breastfeeding – that is, the infant only receives breastmilk without any additional food or drink, not even water;

-Breastfeeding on demand – that is, as often as the child wants, day and night;

   -No use of bottles, teats or pacifiers.”

(full content available here: http://www.who.int/child_adolescent_health/topics/prevention_care/child/nutrition/breastfeeding/en/index.html)

The NHS not only concurs with the WHO, but even provides a useful set of resources for health care professionals, to make sure that they have up-to-date information about breastfeeding and infant nutrition. These resources can be accessed here: http://www.breastfeeding.nhs.uk/en/fe/page.asp?n1=5

I am concerned that [offender’s name] does not have up-to-date information, and is giving mothers misinformation. This seems to suggest that [she/he] has not received proper training in current best practice, and is therefore not currently qualified for [her/his] role in health care.

I look forward to hearing from you about how you are going to address this problem[, and I would be happy to share more details of my interaction with [offender’s name], should you require such information for your review. (delete if you do not wish to provide further details)]

 

Yours sincerely,

 

[complainant’s name and signature]

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