Letter: Deliver the cash for home birth

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Sir: Since the move away from home to hospital births, it is understandable that GPs and some midwives have lost the confidence and skills to take on home births, but that is not the whole story ("Fearful doctors stand in way of home births", 22 November).

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.

MARGARET EYRE

Haslemere, Surrey

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