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'Karlene Davis'

General Secretary, Royal College of Midwives

The introduction of the NHS ensured that midwives were recognised as professionals with an indispensable function to perform. Minister of Health Aneurin Bevan took a personal interest in the midwifery profession. He set up the Midwifery and Maternity Advisory Committee to examine developments and improve standards, and used his personal authority to help establish the Midwife Teachers Training College.

During the last 50 years midwives have provided care within the NHS for nearly 40 million women and their babies and have played a key role in shaping NHS maternity services.

Maternal and baby death rates are the lowest ever on record and midwives have played a key role in reducing these levels since 1948 and throughout the RCM's 117 year history.

With a membership of under 10,000 in 1948, the RCM is now the world's largest midwifery organisation with 36,000 midwives.

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