Film ID: NEFA 18623 Video of NEFA 18623 Flying Squad FLYING SQUAD 1959 Visitor TabsDescription Tyne Tees Television news feature about the Princess Mary Maternity Hospital's (formerly the Lying-in Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne) maternity flying squad who attend to a home emergency involving a pregnant woman, in urgent need of a blood transfusion during child birth. A doctor is writing at a desk, either at home or at his surgery. He answers the telephone. He leaves his house in a leafy suburb and drives off in his car (a Bentley with a Newcastle registration plate). He arrives at the Princess Mary Maternity Hospital on the Great North Road and picks up a colleague, and what appears to be a district nurse/midwife, and they load the car with boxes of medical equipment, then drive off. A man standing on a street corner opposite a row of partially demolished terraced houses flags down the doctor with a handkerchief. The car pulls up and the man gives directions to the doctor. The car drives up a narrow back lane to the back entrance of the man's house. The man runs up the street after the car. The equipment is unloaded from the boot. A nurse or doctor wearing a gown and mask surveys the scene from an upstairs window of the man's house. The doctor and team enter a bedroom where a woman lies unconscious on a bed. A junior doctor and nurse are in attendance and the younger doctor explains his concerns to the senior doctor. The man accompanying the senior doctor sets up a stand in order to give a blood transfusion to the woman. The senior doctor and district nurse/midwife set up the mobile stand for the drip. The doctor prepares the woman's arm. The doctor then goes downstairs to reassure the woman's husband. They both smoke a cigarette. The doctor returns upstairs. The woman is now sitting up in bed fully conscious while the midwife produces a baby wrapped in blankets from a small cot near the bed. The now healthy woman nurses her new baby, and seems quite relaxed and happy. A close-up of the new born baby ends the film. Context Doctors on the move An obstetrics Flying Squad comes to the rescue of a mother-to-be in working class Newcastle upon Tyne. A doctor is incongruously on the move in his Bentley on an emergency call-out to a poor pregnant woman at a back street home in Newcastle. As one of the city’s mobile maternity units designed to ‘bring the hospital’ to seriously ill patients, he picks up help and blood transfusion equipment at the Princess Mary Maternity Hospital off the Great North Road. It is a sign of the times that the old doctor, still clad in a plastic apron, joins the anxious father-to-be for a cigarette. This (mute) Tyne Tees TV news magazine feature highlights an area of maternity services first pioneered by Lanarkshire and Newcastle back in the 1930s, reported to be the idea of Professor E. Farquhar Murray. A certain Doctor Frank Stabler did more than anyone else to build this service in Newcastle from the 1940s. He was reputed to enjoy any excuse to drive his Bentley at speed through police traps on call-outs, waving his stethoscope out of the window. The obstetric flying squads reached their heyday in the 1950s and 60s. With no ‘pill’, and frequently no TV, the birth rate was quite high in the 50s. The majority of women did not give birth in hospital until 1945 and maternal deaths were a cause for concern.