Working on behalf of the Community

March with Midwives

November 14, 2022

A year on from the first March with Midwives when 16,00 people protested across the UK, we again call on government to address a state of emergency in maternity services

What: March with Midwives national demonstrations in solidarity with midwives and healthcare professionals and families
When: Sunday 20th November 2022, 2pm
Where: In more than 30 towns and cities across the UK
Who: Supportive parents, lay-people, doulas, midwives and health care professionals.

On Isle of Wight: Church Lytton Park in Newport on Sunday 20th November at 1345pm

Maternity services across the UK are in a state of emergency. Since records began in 2009, the number of NHS midwives has fallen in England year on year leaving an overworked and under-resourced workforce, putting women and birthing people in danger. A year after the 2021 March With Midwives, in which 16,000 midwives and supporters took to the streets to show their concerns about the dangerously low staffing levels, demands have not been met and midwives’ working conditions and pay are now declared as a state of emergency.  

Cllr Michael Lilley supporting March of the Midwives in 2021

On July 25th, 2022, the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s Expert Panel declared there is “no credible government strategy to tackle the situation” in maternity care.

As healthcare professionals and public sector workers across the country prepare to strike, members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) are set to receive their ballot papers (11 November) in advance of proposed industrial action overpay. 

This week the latest MBBRACE report reveals that maternal death rates are rising in the UK. Up to 30% of all mothers rate their birth as traumatic and similar percentages showed some symptoms commensurate with PTSD.

The March with Midwives’ campaign is a grassroots collective of doulas, midwives and parents. After yet another year of unprecedented pressure on maternity services, we prepare to demonstrate again because it is no longer difficult to imagine a UK without a functioning maternity care system.

The RCM states: “Not a day goes by that we don’t hear of a maternity service having to close temporarily, suspend services or divert women to other maternity units just because there simply aren’t enough midwives. This can’t continue because we know it compromises safety and means women don’t always get the safe positive pregnancy and birth experience that they should.”*

It is clear that maternity services in the UK are in crisis, giving birth in the UK; a high-income country, is becoming critically unsafe. This is unacceptable. Where we have women, birthing people and babies at risk; their families, communities and countries become sick. This is a genuine national emergency which impacts every level of society.

We call on the UK government to implement urgent crisis management and resources. Government promises are not being kept and the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Maternity must take responsibility for their silence and call for immediate action.” 

Midwives demand more time, more money and more autonomy
‘Midwives Voices, Midwives Demands’, White Ribbon Alliance 2021

The March With Midwives movement declare that we must:

LISTEN Listen to parents and maternity staff

FUND Fund increased maternity staffing

ENABLE Enable improved maternity care

REDUCE Reduce the demands on maternity staff

ACT Act immediately to save maternity services

  1. LISTEN: The Government must accept the Health and Social Care committee recommendation to increase resources across the NHS and set out a workforce plan with measures to increase retention and support staff 
  2. FUND: An immediate appropriate, restorative pay rise for midwives that reflects the value society places on their vital work. Award recruitment and retention payments to new entrants and existing staff. Provide financial support for student midwives and create posts for all newly qualified midwives.
  3. ENABLE: The government must renew their commitment to implementing the recent Women’s’ Health Strategy by being ambitious in their approach to improving the quality and accessibility of service and information around women’s health.
  4. REDUCE: An immediate review and reduction of the administrative responsibilities of midwives, including the requirement for duplication of data from or within the medical record.
  5. ACT: Unions representing midwives must enact and support radical industrial action to ensure that we hold our government to account and protect midwives and the families they serve

References

* https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2021/september/rcm-warns-of-midwife-exodus-as-maternity-staffing-crisis-grows/ 

https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2022/july/government-must-act-now-and-invest-in-england-s-nhs-maternity-services-and-staff-says-the-rcm-as-crisis-looms/

https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2022/september/midwives-in-england-and-wales-to-be-balloted-on-industrial-action/

https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2021/september/rcm-warns-of-midwife-exodus-as-maternity-staffing-crisis-grows/

www.rcm.org.uk/media/2373/state-of-maternity-services-report-2018-england.pdf

https://www.rcm.org.uk/media-releases/2022/august/rcm-calls-for-investment-in-maternity-services-as-midwife-numbers-fall-in-every-english-region/

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