Inspirational midwife who remembers the Call the Midwife era has bid a fond farewell to her Hinchingbrooke Hospital colleagues

Diana Galligan has left midwifery after 50 years

Diana Galligan has left midwifery after 50 years - Credit: Archant

Diana began her career as a student nurse in 1968 and qualified as a midwife in 1973, when both nursing and midwifery practice were very different.

Many women delivered their babies within the home setting and Diana would set off on her push bike with a wicker basket containing delivery equipment. She has had numerous different uniforms over that time, from dresses to scrubs, starched cotton aprons to disposable plastic ones, frilly hats to no hats and then back into a modern uniform dress.

She worked for the NHS in Salford, Croydon, Huntingdon County Hospital and the Rosie Maternity Unit, in Cambridge, before joining the team at Hinchingbrooke in 1985. She was promoted to senior midwife, became a supervisor of midwives and in 2004 gained a Masters degree from the University of Manchester.

Diana said: “I remember working on the old-style Nightingale wards, where your cloak was an essential piece of uniform as you walked through the draughty corridors. The most seriously ill patients would be closest to the ward office; there was no ITU. “On the maternity wards a Pinard stethoscope was the only piece of equipment that we would have to listen to the baby’s heartbeat. There were no sonic aids, ultrasound scanners or CTGs. Midwives would therefore have to deal with emergency situations such as undiagnosed twins or breech births at home or in hospital, but the advances in modern technology have made the birthing experience very different now.”

Sarah Grieve, labour ward manager for North West Anglia NHS Foundation Trust, said: “Though I have only known Diana a very short time in her amazing career, her passion for midwifery and for women has always been very obvious.

“She strived to ensure that all women had exceptional, evidence-based care and that they were always listened to and supported in the choices they made. She is truly an inspiration and we are very sad to lose her but wish her every happiness in her retirement.”