Call for more midwives backed by the WI

Thursday 31 May 2012
Sue Baines
A Salford expert’s call for more midwives has received overwhelming support from the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI).

At yesterday’s annual general meeting of the NFWI at the Albert Hall in London, Sue Baines presented a resolution that the Government investment in the employment of more midwives, which was supported by 96% of the delegates.

The resolution: ‘There are chronic shortages of midwives. The NFWI calls on the Government to increase investment in the training, employment and retention of midwives in England and Wales to ensure services are adequately resourced and are able to deliver a high standard of care,’ will now become the campaigning focus for over 210,000 WI members across England and Wales.

Sue is a member of the Horwich WI and has over 35 years’ experience in nursing and midwifery. She was a midwife at the Royal Bolton Hospital before moving into lecturing in 1998.

She said: "The event was an exciting one, the auditorium was packed and members could, I am sure, associate with it by their own experiences or by the experiences of their daughters or families. There were gasps from the audience when I quoted evidence reporting that maternal deaths had doubled in London over the last year.

"Professor Lesley Page, President of the Royal College of Midwives, supported my proposal and congratulated me on its content. Later, members stated their appreciation of my passion for the midwifery role."

Ruth Bond, chair of the NFWI, said: “This was one of the most popular resolutions we have had for many years, and as an issue that touches so many women across the world, it is of little surprise that so many members are so passionate about it.

“Despite welcome commitments from the Government to overhaul maternity services, the number of midwives is not keeping pace with the scale of the baby boom, resulting in an intolerable and unsustainable strain on the system.

“As the main campaigning focus for the year to come, the weight of over 210,000 WI members will be behind our calls for more training, employment and retention to ensure that women and their babies will continue to be supported by midwife services across the UK.”

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