The Government, with its Changing Childbirth policy, has failed to supply the extra resources needed to implement it. We have a national shortage of midwives, yet few NHS trusts have honoured the local pay award.
If it is difficult enough to provide 24-hour cover in hospitals these days, how likely is it we will be able to get midwives to be on call all day and all night for weeks at a time?
Midwives have relationships, partners, husbands and children too. Nearly half of all midwives work less than full-time. In 1961, when I qualified as a midwife, the midwives who trained me were not married; they devoted their lives to other women and their families.
We all support more choice for mothers-to-be, but in the debate on hospitals versus home births it is time to consider the role of the midwife.