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Last Updated: Wednesday, 25 August, 2004, 16:47 GMT 17:47 UK
Sacked male midwife will appeal
A male midwife, sacked for attending a home birth, has said he will appeal against his dismissal.

Paul Belland, 46, of Bourne, Lincolnshire, helped deliver Louise Cutteridge's son at her Peterborough home in June.

He was sacked by Peterborough and Stamford Hospitals NHS Trust on Friday 20 August. The trust had banned home births because of staff shortages.

But Mr Belland said he still believed he had made the right decision.

It leaves midwives at a loss as to what rights women have, and therefore what responsibilities they have towards them
Paul Belland, midwife

He said: "I cannot imagine any set of circumstances in which I would have been persuaded not to attend.

"However, I certainly could have done things differently from a strategic point of view.

"There are procedures I could have gone through to avoid myself being so isolated and having action taken against me."

Louise Cutteridge said: "He's a fantastic midwife - absolutely brilliant. The care he gave me was over and above anything that you would expect.

"He goes that extra mile all the time, he's a very, very popular midwife and the decision to sack him is, I think, a huge, huge mistake."

Mother's choice

Mr Belland said Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) guidelines meant it was his duty to attend a home birth if that was the mother's choice, and that it was time for the government to end the "postcode lottery" of home births.

He called on Health Secretary John Reid to make such births a service which all hospital trusts have to provide and to end the conflict between NMC guidelines and instructions from some NHS trusts to midwives.

He said: "It leaves midwives at a loss as to what rights women have, and therefore what responsibilities they have towards them."

Mr Belland worked as a community midwife for 11 years and is still a registered nurse.

But he said that if he would look for employment elsewhere as a midwife, if an appeal to hospital managers failed.

A spokeswoman for Peterborough MP Helen Clark said she would be seeking a debate on the issue in the Commons and would be raising the matter with Dr Reid.

Midwife sacked after home birth
22 Aug 04  |  Health

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