HC Deb 16 February 1959 vol 600 cc20-1
56. Mr. Hastings

asked the Minister of Health how many midwives were engaged in practice in England and Wales during the last year for which records are available; how many ceased to practise during this year; and how many acquired the necessary diploma for practice during the same period.

Mr. Walker-Smith

During the year ended on the 31st January, 1958, 16,706 midwives notified their intention to practise. This figure is about 300 less than that for the preceding year, but the precise number who ceased to practise is not known. A total of 2,804 persons qualified as midwives.

Mr. Hastings

Does the Minister think that the number qualifying each year is sufficient to make good the wastage from retirement, marriage, service abroad and other causes? If not, what is he doing to increase the output of midwives for service in this country?

Mr. Walker-Smith

There is not actually any shortage of qualified mid-wives. The difficulty arises because not sufficient of those who qualify go in for a practice. As the hon. Gentleman may know, I have had this matter considered by the National Consultative Council on the Recruitment of Nurses and Midwives. The Council's Report, which contains a number of suggestions, has been circulated for the information of hospital authorities, and is being followed up by visits by my medical and nursing officers.

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