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Home   Canterbury   News   Article

Midwives go medieval to show profession's plight

30 April 2008
Midwife Virginia Howes makes a splash to highlight a threat to the profession. Pictures: Matt Hoople

Midwife Virginia Howes makes a splash to highlight a threat to the profession. Pictures: Matt Hoople

An effigy was placed on the ancient ducking stool, ready for a dip

An effigy was placed on the ancient ducking stool, ready for a dip

Fears that independent midwives may not be able to get insurance led to one getting a 'ducking'.

Virginia Howes, who runs the Kent Midwifery Practice, waded into the River Stour in Canterbury to draw attention to the Save Independent Midwifery Campaign.

She was watched by midwives from across the county and some of their clients at the Weavers Restaurant, while an effigy was placed in the historic ducking stool that hangs off the side of the restaurant above the river.

The ducking stunt echoed the tradition of the fate of witches and midwives who were often treated with suspicion and fear in Medieval times.

A lack of insurance means hundreds of independent midwives up and down the country could be forced to stop work in the face of government guidelines by the end of next year.

Partner at the Ashford-based Kent Midwifery Practice, Kay Hardie, said: “No one will insure us.

“We are a high risk group and the pot is small for any coverage because we work outside the NHS.

“We offer invaluable one-to-one care for pregnant women and many more are choosing alternative methods to give birth.

“We hope that the Primary Care Trusts will buy our services in the same way they do for GP services.

“In that way we would have insurance coverage.”

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