You know, I've been trying to think of a way to write about this for quite some time now (and the related subject of planning around it), but each time I've thought about how to write it I've always been scared that I'd come across as racist.
So here we go, lets give it a try and just write my impressions without putting any value judgements on it.
In my area we have a large amount of immigrants. For reasons that I presume are cultural many of these groups tend to start having children earlier than your 'native white' woman. They also tend towards having lots of children.
I tend to take more immigrant birthing women to hospital than 'native white' women. Is this just because 'native white' women tend to be financially better off and therefore own a car or have other transport?
Recently I've been finding that, on taking birthing women to hospital, they tend not to have any empty beds.
It doesn't end there.
Having lots of children places a strain on the ambulance service, the A&E departments and GP surgeries. When an infection starts spreading through the schools we get lots of calls to sick children.
If there are a lot of children in a house then all the children tend to get sick.
People who do not oppose immigration, and I count myself as a moderate member of this group, would say that if there are more people in the country then there are more people to work in the medical services industry.
Except that it doesn't work like that, I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of, for want of a better phrase, 'minority ethnic*' ambulance people. For some reason it's less of an issue for nursing staff and GPs.
(Heh, maybe 'minority ethnic' people aren't as daft as folk would make them out to be – what sane person would want my job?)
This lack of 'minority ethnic' ambulance people is at least partly because the government doesn't give us enough money to hire more people. I don't think that the LAS recruited anyone for an eighteen month period recently.
But there is no simple solution, can you really tell people to stop having quite so many children? The majority of the people I go to aren't that rich (otherwise they wouldn't live where they do), so taxation isn't the answer. Where does the money come from?**
So we muddle along. Myself? I can see us ambulance people delivering more babies at home as birthing mothers get turned away from midwife units (the second child I ever delivered was born at home because of this).
A while ago I took two 'native white' women to the midwives, both in labour, one after another. Both shared the same first name. Both were on a Methadone program. I mention this à propos of nothing.
Oh well, so it goes.
UPDATE:Just watching the local news, apparently in my area three out of every four births is to an immigrant mother, which reflects my experience.
*Because, if you are born in England you are a native Englander. But I understand that it's not as simple as that.
**The first person to comment, “By not fighting unwanted, improper and pointless wars” wins a cookie for stating the obvious.