In support of independent midwifery

 It is crunch time and myself, David and Aquabirths as whole has decided to take a stand so that our sisters and daughters and friends may also have the choice of the excellent care of the independent midwife and may be able to obtain this truly holistic midwifery-led care on the NHS.

Join us in writing to your MP. I downloaded the letter from their website at I did but then ended up writing my own – and here it is . . .to inspire and encourage you to do the same ( husband optional!). This is not about what you or I could or would do but about enabling us to have a choice, and have a choice of practice styles, the right to give birth how and where we wish with the professional of our choice.

Changing the way the wind blows


Dear Mr Davies

I am writing following on from the Finlay Scott review and in support of the Independent Midwives practising in the UK today. I have had the pleasure and privilege both to work with independent midwives as colleagues and as a client of theirs. IM Michelle Whittle of Yorkshire Storks helped me set up the voluntary support group Choices in Childbirth and facilitated our monthly meetings for 7 years, her colleague IM Jo Twyman has taken over where she left off.

The depth and breadth of their knowledge of pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and latest medical evidence has always impressed me, as has their generosity of spirit and professional practice. When birth pool customers tell me their midwives are independent ones I am relieved knowing that they will get all the support, knowledge and skill required to offer them a home waterbirth if it is at all possible.

As a client I chose Michelle Whittle because having had four babies on the NHS we had come to the reluctant conclusion that it was not safe for me to continue having babies within the NHS system. To have the normal and healthy birth and have the support we needed if things did not go well we needed to go to Independent Midwifery. At the time we paid 15% of that year’s income (with four small children) to cover the cost of their care and it was worth every penny for the good birth we all had and not having postnatal depression for the first time in three births.

It has been a grave concern of mine and my husband, that this exemplary care and midwifery good practice would be lost as a choice to the women of the UK through new insurance legislation and a lack of will on the part of policy makers and bureaucrats at Westminster and Whitehall. We are therefore writing to ask, nay demand, that matters are so arranged that these fantastic, highly committed practitioners have the insurance they need to continue to practice as they are currently doing as independent midwives within current guidelines. We also ask that commensurate with their implementation of Maternity Matters and the new Health White Paper, the care of these midwives will be available as a choice for all women via the NHS as alternative willing providers of care.

We should not have had to pay the heavy financial burden to receive that level of care, it should be available on the NHS. We would argue that with their excellent outcomes combined with the reduction in admin and staff costs associated with NHS staff this would be an excellent choice both for women and babies and a cash strapped UK economy. We would ask therefore that you: take the matter forward with the relevant people at the Department of Health, that you keep us informed of developments, and help us lobby effectively for these amazing midwives who deserve accolades rather than brickbats.

With every good wish Mrs Ruth and Dr David Weston Further information can be obtained at

Please Note: We write this on a personal level but also as a business partnership committed to providing services for and lobbying for, good births for all women and their babies. We want to add the full weight of our business Aquabirths Ltd and Aquabirths at Home in support of the continuing choice of women to receive care from an IMUK midwife. The outcome of this issue will make no positive difference to our future business (but raising it in this official way could have a negative effect) it is simply because our ethos of promoting the best birth for mothers and babies, demands it.


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