London, Thursday 9th March, 2023
At MSI Reproductive Choices UK, we love hearing from our colleagues about their passion for providing essential healthcare services, and ensuring that people across England can exercise their sexual and reproductive rights.
We interviewed Angela Gale, Registered Midwife at MSI UK’s Maidstone clinic, about what being an abortion provider means to her, and why she is proud to support our clients accessing reproductive healthcare.
“All I have ever wanted to do is help, so to be able to help someone in their decision makes me proud every day and that will never change.”
How and why did you start working for MSI?
The reason I wanted to work within abortion care is because everything we do here is true to the meaning of the word midwife. Midwifery is so much more than people realise. The essence and art of midwifery is being supportive, an advocate, and being with and alongside our clients in every way. What could be truer to my role than supporting, empowering, and delivering care to people at this moment in their life. Deciding to have an abortion can be challenging, so being that professional that can give our clients time, kindness, empathy, and support is a privilege.
I trained as a midwife in 2016 and felt throughout my training that I was able to develop a strong relationship with clients, even in a short space of time. Midwifery can be quite challenging in numerous ways, and one of those is people’s perceptions of what the role entails. Throughout my career as a midwife, I have empowered people throughout their pregnancy journey beyond the stereotypical perception of a midwife. In my final year of midwifery training, I became aware I wanted to take a different route.
When listening to some of our clients’ stories, some would mention that they had already had an abortion elsewhere and that they felt judged when having their abortions. This made me think that abortion care is where I could make a difference. Fast forward to when I finished my training, I applied for a job at MSI that was not for newly qualified midwives, but I was determined to apply and low and behold I got an interview and was offered the job.
I have now been working at MSI UK for over three years and have achieved so much in my career. I can honestly say that I feel more of a midwife working at MSI than I ever have before.
Can you tell me more about your role as a midwife?
To briefly say what my role entails, it can include seeing clients for a face-to-face initial consultation, taking their full medical history, completing safeguarding assessments, discussing sexually transmitted infections and checking if clients would like to be tested for these. Based on all these factors, I will then make an individual care plan for each client, taking into account their medical history, risk factors, gestation, and their choice. Sometimes I may liaise with members of the multi-disciplinary team but I always ensure that the client remains at the core of what I do and that they are aware and involved in their plan moving forward. I also provide abortion medication (abortion pills) to clients who are having an abortion with pills at home.
At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine for early medical abortion was temporarily introduced, meaning that we were able to provide care to clients within their own homes.* This has been beneficial for numerous reasons, including minimising disruptions to work and home life and helping those with safeguarding concerns or financial constraints, to name but a few.
I also conduct telemedicine appointments over the phone, complete ultrasound examinations to determine the gestation of the pregnancy, support surgical abortion clients, complete audits, support and train junior members of the team, and provide support to clients who have had a fetal anomaly diagnosis. As part of abortion care, we also discuss contraception and I am trained to fit implants and administer contraceptive (depo) injections. The role is extremely diverse and there are always opportunities to learn and develop.
Additionally, I have a lead role within the clinic as the infection prevention and control (IPC) lead, and I have been in this position for over a year now. Throughout the pandemic, a lot has been learnt regarding infection prevention and control.
Another role that I have is as a mental health first aider. Team members at MSI can speak to me about their mental health if they need support and guidance. I am extremely honoured to have this role and I hope that people feel that they can approach me whenever they need me.
*Following a vote in the House of Commons in March 2022, access to at-home early medical abortion care was made permanent in England.
“My favourite part of the job is being supportive, empathetic, kind, and being able to make a difference.”
What does a day in your life look like at MSI?
A day in my life involves setting up the clinic, completing safety checks, and discussing the day ahead with members of the clinical team. I may be on the phone, treating clients face-to-face or completing consultations or pre-assessments as part of the surgical abortion team.
Regardless of where I am working, it always involves a lot of conversations, active listening, and empathy. It is a busy clinic, so time management, communication and teamwork are a necessity, but there is never pressure to complete tasks within a given time. As mentioned previously, individualised care is imperative and MSI is committed to providing this and ensuring that clients feel safe and empowered in their decision.
Clients can feel a range of emotions, so MSI’s free, confidential counselling service is invaluable. I can refer clients to this service if it is useful to them.
What is your favourite part of the job?
My favourite part of the job is being supportive, empathetic, kind, and being able to make a difference. All I have ever wanted to do is help, so to be able to help someone in their decision makes me proud every day and that will never change. It is at the core of who I am as a human being.
Why are you proud of the work that you do?
Why wouldn’t I be proud? I have no judgement about someone else’s decision and nor should anyone else.
I am proud to challenge perceptions.
I am proud to be a midwife
I am proud to support.
I am proud that I share this passion with my likeminded colleagues.
I am proud of clients that seek, require, and let me be a part of providing abortion care.
What do you want others to know about being a midwife for an abortion provider?
My role is so important. It is the essence of midwifery. It is about providing support, and empowering others. Midwifery in abortion care is non-judgemental, it is making referrals to protect our clients, it is having the knowledge, and wanting to learn and develop in your practice. It is thinking about the bigger picture, always learning from one another, and actively listening to the clients that we care for.
Why or how do you think reproductive choice contributes to gender equality?
Everybody has the right to choose if or when they want to have a family. We are so lucky in the UK because we can access abortion care legally and safely.
My hope and desire is that everybody around the world will have access to safe abortion care so that they can determine their future and fulfil their goals and dreams, which will assist in achieving gender equality. No gender has any superiority over the other and reproductive choices are intrinsic to eliminating inequality.
Thank you to our frontline colleagues who face down stigma to make sure everyone can access safe and compassionate care and support.
Don’t forget to thank an abortion provider today.
Read more from our colleagues
At MSI UK, we love interviewing our colleagues to find out more about their work and how their roles contribute to our mission to deliver quality reproductive healthcare. Below, you can read some of our latest interviews:
- “Being a part of MSI and helping so many people access care feels amazing.” - Interview with Sarah Salkeld, Associate Clinical Director at MSI UK, about contraception services at MSI UK, and the importance of having the choice to access contraception.
- “We are here to help empower people to make the decision that is right for them.” – Interview with Ben Tallis, Client Care Coordinator at our National Call Centre in Bristol, about supporting the clients who phone up our call centre from all over England.
- “I have never felt more like a midwife than I do in this role.” - Interview with Grace Louisa Ash, MSI UK Practice Development and Advocacy Midwife, about what being a midwife and an advocate for nurses and midwives across England means to her.
- Why making a difference is a real privilege - Interview with Ailish McEntee, MSI UK Named Midwife for Safeguarding Adults and Children, about safeguarding at MSI UK, and how we care for and support our clients.
- “I’ve never felt more like a midwife than I do here.” – Interview with Giselle Barnes, Clinical Services Matron at our Bristol clinic, about what being a midwife in abortion care means to her.
- “If it’s your body, it’s your choice.” – Interview with Stephanie Pérez, Regional General Manager in Sussex, about how she supports our clients within her role.
Careers at MSI Reproductive Choices UK
At MSI Reproductive Choices, we are looking for pro-choice and passionate professionals to join us in our mission.
MSI Reproductive Choices employs over 500 people in the United Kingdom alone, all of whom are dedicated to delivering the highest quality abortion and vasectomy care.
We know that our most valuable assets are the people that work for us. By joining MSI Reproductive Choices, you’ll become part of a committed team that work to make sure we provide the best possible care and support to our clients.
If you are interested in a career at MSI UK, find our current open positions here: Join Our Team