The Worthing March for Midwives event, held in Montague Place on Saturday (November 21), was one of a number of events nationwide calling for government action to address a ‘maternity services crisis’.
Worthing vigil organiser Pat Schan, a retired midwife who worked at Worthing Hospital, said: “The reason for this nationwide action is because midwives in the UK are leaving their profession.
“Maternity units are closing their doors and the safety of birth in the UK is in crisis as infant and maternal morbidity are on the rise.
“Although retired, I remain passionate about midwifery and women’s health.
“There is overwhelming evidence that midwives are important message and care givers - women and families listen to them.
“The crisis facing the profession now is real with 60 per cent of them considering leaving the profession. They now must be heard by government.”
Talking after the event, Pat said the message was loud and clear. She said: “Midwives are exhausted, demoralised and seriously concerned about the quality of care and safety of the mothers and babies.
“A recent report revealed that nearly 60 per cent of midwives are considering leaving and only one in 30 newly qualified midwives are actually taking up a job.
“Dr Beccy Cooper, public health consultant and local Labour councillor, described how midwives have influenced her career and stressed their importance, before leading a rousing minutes marching on the spot.
“The vigils were reported on national TV and radio and with a petition to urge government investment currently signed by over 100,000 people – midwives are finally finding a voice and the support they need.”
The March with Midwives steering group said: “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.”