WI To Vote On Joining Midwifery Campaign

St Mary's Hospital

St Mary’s Women’s Institute members are voting on whether they should join a national campaign to ask the Government to invest more in recruiting and training midwives.

There is 5,000 shortfall in England and Wales.

There are over 210,000 members of the WI nationally and St Mary’s secretary Maureen Carter says Scilly could add its voice to a formidable force.

Maureen says that in her time in Scilly there has been a gradual erosion in the midwife service, which she admits could be down to the number of children being born on the islands.

At one time, nurses at St Mary’s hospital used to have dual qualifications, meaning they could see any pregnant woman. But then it went down to one midwife, then a job-shared role, she says.

Maureen concedes that there are relatively few babies born here and there can be spikes in the birth rate like we had three years ago. She says it’s difficult providing services here and it’s not always easy to predict which women could have problems in childbirth, but Scilly should offer the services that mainland mums can choose.

We asked Laura Mason of the Royal Cornwall Hospitals Trust whether she felt the current island arrangements for midwifery are adequate.

She said there is currently a part-time midwife dedicated to caring for mums in Scilly. There were 2 births on the Islands last year with additional births taking place on the mainland out of choice or due to clinical need.

Laura adds that the small number of pregnancies mean mums have very good access to midwifery care here.

The Islands’ WI group is holding a lunchtime meeting, which is unusual, next Tuesday at 12 noon at the Methodist Hall, so they can be addressed by the Chair of the Cornwall Federation, Nan Collier.

Members are asked to bring some food.