WOMEN have shared their experiences with One to One Midwives, a week after the Warrington Guardian revealed the scale of NHS debt the company ran up.

Warrington Hospital was owed more than £1 million when the firm collapsed with little notice last summer.

Millions more were owed to trusts across the UK.

Many women praised their midwives and reported positive birthing experiences, but a lot of mums saw their care fall short of expected standards.

As one midwife pointed out: “Many women had positive experiences with One to One and I am sure were wholly unaware of the financial trouble and in some cases increased risk they were being placed under.

"Some One to One midwives who now work for the NHS say they felt pressured to keep women out of hospital, even when it was safer for them to admitted."

Emma Singleton, aged 26, started her pregnancy with One to One Midwives in January 2016.

She said: “At my first scan in the One to One Midwives shop in town, I was told I had a large amount of blood around the baby and told to rest and this would go away.

“I didn’t know what this was so I contacted my GP who said that it may have been another baby I had lost. I then went back for a scan at 20 weeks and the blood had gone and was all forgotten.

“I was not told but due to unforeseen circumstances, I was given a new midwife who was very polite but told me repeatedly that I should have a home birth as it was much better.

“She told me I could be in my own bed and it would be less stress on me and baby.

“Luckily, I am very close to my mother-in-law and she advised me to have a hospital birth.

Warrington Guardian:

“I was then given another midwife temporarily as my usual one was on holiday. When my midwife came back she visited me and told me she couldn’t find a heartbeat.

“I was absolutely devastated, she left me to attend more of her patients and said she would be back after.

“I was alone with no transport, new to Warrington, in my first pregnancy, absolutely petrified.

“She came back and it turned out that everything was okay but closer to the end of my pregnancy she said that my baby’s legs were very short and may have problems so I went back to the shop on Sankey Street for a growth scan.

“There I found out what she thought were the baby’s legs were in fact his arms and he was breached.

“After that I was transferred to Warrington Hospital and advised to have a Caesarean and the care was superb.

“On the day of my section all staff were amazing but they didn’t like the fact I was under One to One as they have been known to miss out important information.

“It made my day when I found out One to One Midwives had collapsed as I know first-hand they are a danger to mums and babies and I did not feel safe with them at all.

“My family and I will never forget what they put me through. I can say that my almost four-year-old is great and I am glad that after the whole ordeal he is safe and well unlike some children I heard about.”

One 32-year-old woman joined One to One Midwives in August 2018 and already had a two-year-old son who had been born at Wythenshawe Hospital.

She had since moved to Birchwood and was recommended One to One Midwives by a friend.

The woman, who does not wish to be named, chose to go with them because of her fear of hospitals and the idea of designated midwives in the comfort her own home, with no childcare worries or hospital parking fees appealed to her.

She said: “My booking appointment was in September but it was pushed back twice due to my midwives having other women in the early stages of labour.

“It became clear very early on that the midwives were being assigned far too many women to deal with. When my midwife did eventually meet me, she wasn't very friendly towards my toddler which put me on edge and she was very young and unable to answer most of my questions.

“I gave her notes from my previous birth that my midwife in Manchester had written so she could understand that I was a bit fragile and also because I wouldn't have to explain myself, the notes spoke for me.

“The notes explained my hospital fears and concerns due to being sexually assaulted by a doctor at a young age and raped whilst drugged at a young age.

“I begged her to keep these notes to only herself and my other designated midwife. She said she would return them on my next visit - but I never saw her again.

“After having the next three appointments cancelled and having to travel to Liverpool for my scan, I called and said I wanted to leave them because I was so unhappy with the service I was receiving.

“They half begged to give them another chance and advised they would assign an older more experienced midwife to me.

“I had extreme sickness throughout my pregnancy which resulted in numerous hospital visits for fluids and medication.

“The first serious bout of sickness my new midwife came out to me, she was lovely but just sent me to the hospital without really doing much so her coming seemed pointless and a waste of time (and not doubt money).

“I never saw her again; she went off sick with stress I believe.

“My next appointment was cancelled along with my 20-week scan until I said ‘look, I need my scan and I want my private notes back because I am concerned about what has happened with them’.

“I never got my notes back, I have no idea where they are and neither do One to One.

“One young midwife rang my original assigned midwife asking where they were and her reply was 'god knows'.

“Those notes had all my details on, from my NHS number to my address and date of birth.

“I had my 20-week scan that day and ever went back.

“At 29 weeks, I transferred my care to Wythenshawe Hospital who were amazing. I was treated with such dignity and respect and understanding.

“They knew my history from my previous birth and they bent over backwards to ensure I felt really in control because of this.

“I couldn't fault them, they were just fantastic.

“I couldn't have been less shocked if I had tried at the news of One to One’s collapse.

“In fact, I was disappointed I didn't know just how much of a drain on the NHS they were because if I had known I would have made noise about the way they handled me as a service user and tried to end they abysmal service sooner.

“From the testimonies of some ladies, I do believe they did well in some cases but then they took on too many pregnant women which in turn reduced service levels.

“They also took on every newly qualified midwife they could so they lacked experience across the board - this was something many NHS hospital midwives felt very strongly about too.

“Everyone needs to start somewhere but pushing everyone for a home birth and then assigning them very young inexperienced midwives is absurd in my eyes.”