"I feel like I'm leaving a sinking ship": Crowds gather for Leeds 'March with Midwives' vigil

The vigil was held today (Sunday) in front of Leeds Town Hall as protesters seeked urgent government change to protect midwives, women and new born babies.

Sunday, 21st November 2021, 4:45 pm
Updated Sunday, 21st November 2021, 5:08 pm

The emotionally charged protest saw a major turnout with mothers and young children joining midwives and other health care professionals in campaigning for safer working conditions.

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'March with Midwives' vigil to be held in Leeds

Liz a midwife from Leeds, who is set to retire next year, addressed the crowd detailing how she felt the profession was a sinking ship.

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Crowds gathered at Leeds Town Hall to demand urgent change from government amidst worrying midwife crisis. Picture: James Hardisty.

The claim comes after a recent survey by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) union found 57 per cent of midwives are looking to leave.

"This movement is to make sure that midwives and parents are heard because there's some really unsafe working conditions and the midwives are absolutely exhausted." organiser Katie Campian told the YEP.

"They are burnt out and they are ready to leave." she said "They are ready to leave their jobs because mentally and physically they just can't do their jobs."

Rebecca Trueman a fellow member of the Leeds #MarchwithMidwives event said: "We are doing it for midwives but also for pregnant mothers and future pregnant mothers, our future generations because things are becoming really unsafe and chronically underfunded yet the Government don't seem to care.

A recent survey conducted by the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) union found 57 per cent of midwives are looking to leave. Picture: James Hardisty.

"It's affecting women's rights because women are not getting the choices for births like people being told they can't have home births because of staff shortages."

A lack of funding and lack of numbers is having an impact on birth plans with many being thrown out the window whilst staff are being forced to work long shifts without breaks.

Zoe a midwife from Leeds explained to the YEP why the movement is so important.

"I've been working as a midwife for over 20 years and have seen the deterioration first hand. The standards that we set, the care that we give and the safety of women and babies." she said "If you've got a member of staff who has been working for 12 hours and they haven't had a break and haven't eaten then as human beings our ability to clinically make decisions well becomes a problem."

Zoe further explained how she feels that certain steps within the birthing process are being missed and that is putting babies and mothers in labour at risk.

"My main concern and the reason I'm out here isn't because we aren't getting our breaks and aren't getting to eat or drink." she said "My main concern is that we are working through all of that and I don't think the women and babies in our care are safe and things are getting missed."

The Government have pledged further support recently and are aiming to hire 1,200 more midwives as part of a £95m recruitment drive.

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