31 OCTOBER 1908, Page 16


[To THE EDTTOII Or Till" SPECTATOR:] STR,—May we beg a few lines of your space to make an appeal of a most urgent nature? It may be known to many of your readers that in 1902 an Act of Parliament was passed (the Midwives Act, 1902) providing that after 1910 no woman shall practise as a mid- wife unless properly qualified and registered. This was a most salutary, and indeed necessary, step for the protection of both mothers and infants from the terrible consequences resulting from incapacity and ignorance, for it is probably not generally known that fifty per cent, of all births in England and Wales are attended by midwives, the majority of whom were formerly untrained.

But Parliament, while preventing incompetent women from practising this profession, did not see fit to take any step towards providing a sufficient supply of competent midwives, and it was with a view to making good this omission that the Association for Promoting the Training and Supply of Midwives was formed. The Association, which is honoured by the patronage of her Majesty the Queen, and has the invaluable support of his Grace the Arch- bishop of Canterbury as president, has done very valuable work; but funds are needed to extend and complete that work. A very large number of women ought to be trained in midwifery by the year 1910, and this must be done largely by funds provided by private generosity, as great numbers of suitable women cannot afford the cost of training, which is about £25 for each midwife. It is impossible to exaggerate the blessing that competent attendance in childbirth means to poor women and to their children.

We commend this appeal for subscriptions very urgently to your readers in the assurance that every pound given to this object will help to alleviate the suffering and reduce the risk of disease and death among mothers and infants. We may add that Dr. Champneys, chairman of the Central Midwives Board, is in sympathy with the objects of our appeal. All information may be obtained from the office, Association for Promoting the Training and Supply of Midwives, Deere House, Dean Farrar Street, Westminster, S.W.—We are, Sir, &o.,

Amnia MAnat, BEI7O1,

Chairman of the Executive Committee. ARTHUR L. LEON, Hon. Treasurer.