Beth Waddington – President NMA/ACMI 1985 – 1987

During her term of Office as National President 1985 – 1987, Beth reported the following:

· Incorporation of the National Midwives Association in July 1985.

· Revision of the constitution and writing of the By-laws

· Development of the building blocks of the professional association through work on a philosophy, objectives, code of ethics and standards of practice, to which members of all branches of the College contributed.

· 1985 submission to the Layton Enquiry into Medicare Fees Schedules requesting specific Medicare Benefit Schedule for care provided by midwives. This saw heightened political activity and perspicacity by the College as the profession sought to define its function as ‘a service that affected human lives’.

· Branches of the College were encouraged to seek autonomy and a number disaffiliated as special interest groups from the Royal Australian Nursing Federation. Beth reported that branches were struggling with the future role and education of midwives and the implications for midwifery practice inherent in the role of the comprehensive nurse.

· In 1986 links began to be established with the New Zealand College of midwives through attendance of the President and 15 college members, at the first National Midwives Conference.

· The College maintained strong links with the ICM, with delegation to the ICM Council and submission of proposals, including one, supporting funding for ICM Board representatives to attend meetings. One hundred and twenty midwives represented Australia in the ICM Congress held in The Hague, Netherlands in August 1987.

· The College recognised the need to lift its profile amongst politicians and others who influenced the practice and education of midwives. Executive meetings became strategic with some held in Canberra, where face to face discussions with political and industry leaders, realised what Beth hoped would be potential for long-term implications and involvement.

· The College increased its interest in midwifery education through country study days and organising national conferences every 2 years.

· In 1985 the Biennial National Conference was held in Brisbane and in 1987 in Hobart.

· The College worked on a proposal to form a National Midwives Trust using the profit from the ICM Congress held in Sydney in 1984. Interest from monies invested in the Trust was to be used to fund research, special projects, study tours, attendances at conferences. Margaret Peters and Pam Hayes became Trustees of that Trust.

· The College began working towards achieving WHO ‘Health for all’ Strategies and investing in supporting midwives from Western Pacific Nations to establish an active Western Pacific Midwifery Region. The College assumed the role of Regional Representative to ICM.

You can read Beth’s full report here

A little know fact about Beth was that she was in the Army Nursing Corps and saw war service in Korea before moving into midwifery. She had broad experience in midwifery, in particular in education and management. Known as a hardworking leader, she was committed to the work of the College. With Beth’s death some years ago now, the ACM and midwifery lost a strong advocate.