NHS maternity services reduced to stick to bite on

CUTS to NHS maternity services mean that women in labour will now simply be offered a stick to bite.

The move is the latest cost-saving initiative from health secretary Steve Barclay, who hailed it as a welcome return to traditional delivery methods.

He explained: “The biting stick has been a trusted birthing tool for centuries, used by women all over the world – granted, it doesn’t do much about the pain, but really, how bad can it be?”  

“What we are giving these mothers is choice. Rather than being trapped in a clean, safe environment with trained professionals, they are free to give birth wherever they choose – whether that’s out in the garden so they don’t mess up the carpet, or in the back of an Uber.”

Conservatives have offered enthusiastic support for the plans, while some critics have speculated that Barclay’s lack of empathy for the birthing process could be because he was not born of woman but arrived fully formed from the nightmares of NHS service users.

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I choose not to identify as a pet

By Wayne Hayes, cat

I find the term ‘pet’ highly problematic. Just because we live in your houses, eat your food and periodically enjoy being stroked between the ears in a highly specific way, do not assume that we are your property.

Personally speaking I choose not to identify as ‘pet’ but as ‘quadrupedal co-habitant’. Besides maintaining active interests in hunting and boundary patrolling, I am working on a theatre piece called ‘Paw’.

I am also launching a financial advice website in the late autumn, and have designed a range of chairs.

Did you notice? Did you see beyond my expressive triangular face and soft towel-like fur? You did not.

And that is why I did a shit on the patio.