RCOG records relating to the Standing Maternity and Midwifery Advisory Committee

Scope and Content

Records of the RCOG relating to the Standing Maternity and Midwifery Advisory Committee, including correspondence and papers of John Peel as Chair of the Sub-committee to consider the future of the Domiciliary Midwifery Services and Bed Needs (1968-1969), papers of RCOG Presidents Norman Jeffcoate and Stanley Clayton as chairmen of the Committee during their respective terms of office (1970-1974), and RCOG publications on national maternity and obstetric services (1944-1968).

Administrative / Biographical History

The National Health Service Act 1946 established a Central Health Services Council to advise the Minister of Health and this included, ex-officio, the presidents of the medical Royal Colleges. It also empowered him to constitute standing advisory committees to provide guidance on particular services. Initially, nine such committees were appointed, a Maternity and Midwifery Advisory Committee being one.

In 1967 this considered the future of the domiciliary midwifery service and bed needs for maternity patients in the context of an increasing hospital confinement rate, a shorter length of hospital stay and a falling birth rate. It established a subcommittee to examine the issue. This held its first meeting in September 1967. Sir John Peel was elected Chairman. It met thirteen times and took evidence from a range of organisations and individuals. Its 1970 report, known as the Peel Report, was subsequently controversial for its recommendation that 'sufficient facilities should be provided to allow for 100% hospital delivery' and that 'the greater safety of hospital confinement for mother and child justifies this objective.'

Conditions Governing Access

Open for research.

Related Material

Related material held at the RCOG may be found at the following references:

RCOG/M24 Records of an earlier College committee to consider domiciliary midwifery services, 1951-1954

RCOG/B7/F Working group reports on development of standards in Gynaecology, Obstetrics and Maternity Care