STUNNING retro pictures have revealed how walkie-talkies were used by midwives in the 1960s to speed up their service.
The incredible images show a midwife speaking into her walkie-talkie as she rides around Leicester on her scooter in 1965, two nurses receiving instructions from Manchester’s supervisor of midwives who operated the master set to keep her nurses briefed as they cycle their regular rounds in 1966 and a nurse using her pocket-size two-way radio at a patient’s bedside in 1966.
Other striking shots show a model showing off the Midwives overcoat and matching hat which were designed as ‘get about’ clothes for the travelling midwife in 1968, a pupil and a midwife setting off on their daily rounds in 1950 and Nurse Grace Peck with a Silver Medal and prizes for Medicine and Nursing, at the Prize Giving ceremony at the Prince of Wales’s General Hospital, London, England in 1952.
Seventy Manchester Corporation midwives were said to be the first midwives in Britain to have the new radios. It was part of a £7,500 plan to speed up the service. The unit, weighing only 14 ounces, provides immediate contact with a central control station day and night.
It means that the midwife can call for a doctor or an ambulance, get expert advice in case of difficulty or call the maternity flying squad in an emergency without having to leave the patient’s bedside. Gone were the days when a midwife had to leave her patient to find a public telephone, or ask the father to be to make a call.
Leicester’s 37 midwives also carried the sets after the city’s Health Officer purchased them for £8,000. They slept with them beside their pillow and carried them around the city with them, always on alert in case of emergency.