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Joint Council on Midwifery, 1933-1940

Part of
National Birthday Trust Fund
  • Archives and manuscripts

About this work


The Joint Committee on Midwifery (JCM) was established in October 1933 on the initiative of the NBTF. It was renamed the Joint Council in May 1934. It included representatives from the NBTF, the British College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (BCOG), the British Medical Association (BMA), the Queens Institute of District Nursing (QIDN), the Midwives Institute (later the RCM), the College of Nursing (later the RCN), the British Hospitals Association (BHA), the Association of Inspectors of Midwives, the Society of Medical Officers of Health and the Association of County Medical Officers, and both Houses of Parliament.

Its terms of reference were:
"to promote the common interests of these bodies in matters appertaining to the Midwifery Services".

The Council was dissolved on 24 April 1940. Throughout its existence its Chairman was Lord Athlone and Honorary Secretary Lady Rhys-Williams whose Secretary, Miss DV Riddick kept the records. Accommodation was provided by the NBTF. Several of Lady Rhys-Williams' personal files relating to the work of the JCM were found with the archives. Where appropriate these have been incorporated in the main series but the remainder are listed in section U [Personal papers]. Records of the Maternity Services Enquiry sub-committee of the Midwives Institute, which was formed in connection with the JCM's first report [on the establishment of a salaried midwives service], are listed in section V [Non-NBTF Organisations].

The JCM's first objective was the consideration of remuneration and distribution of midwives. Its report of February 1935 led to the Midwives Act of 1936.

It also established a committee of enquiry into non-therapeutic abortions which produced an interim report in 1937 and laid the basis for a detailed survey of more than 3,000 individual cases in 1937-38 (Section S).

The administration and statistical work on the abortion survey was undertaken by a Research Committee, established in April 1937, which also took over from the NBTF the administration of the Nutrition Survey in conjunction with the Commissioner for Special Areas in South Wales and N.E. England (Section T).

The JCM also produced a report on the staffing of Maternity Hospitals in 1939.

The records are arranged as follows:
R - Administration, including copies of final reports: includes records of the Midwifery Services Committee, 1934-36, and the Maternity Hospitals Nursing Staff Committee, 1939
S - Abortion Survey
T - Nutrition Survey: including some records from the period of NBTF administration of the scheme



Physical description

42 boxes, 3 oversize items

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