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Protesting in Call the Midwife outfits over shortages on hospitals' labour wards



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MIDWIVES from across the country will hold vigils to highlight a “lack of support from the government” which is causing staffing shortages at hospitals.

Student midwives Katie Stimpson, left, formally a product developer at Jaguar Land Rover, and Becky Mogg, a former secondary school teacher, will be making their point in London on Friday dressed as characters from the Call the Midwife television drama. Photo: Mark Williamson W47/11/21/6876. (52987414)
Student midwives Katie Stimpson, left, formally a product developer at Jaguar Land Rover, and Becky Mogg, a former secondary school teacher, will be making their point in London on Friday dressed as characters from the Call the Midwife television drama. Photo: Mark Williamson W47/11/21/6876. (52987414)

Among the people heading to London on 21st November will be two student midwives who are concerned about the numbers leaving the profession, claiming labour units are understaffed and they are underpaid and undervalued.

Katie Stimpson, 32, from Mickleton and her colleague, Becky Mogg, aged 36, from Shipston, will dress in 1960 nursing costumes – similar to those seen on the TV show Call the Midwife – for the vigil in Parliament Square.

Katie, a mum of three, is following her own mum, Dawn, into the profession. She previously worked with Jaguar Land Rover before she started her training in Worcester with Becky.

“For me, being a midwife is so special and it’s about completing that journey with a woman from the moment she is pregnant to when the child is born, and providing care afterwards,” Katie told the Herald. “For some that journey can be wonderful and for others it can be scary, but the midwife is always there for all the family.”

She added: “Things are stretched so thin now and the service is understaffed and it’s heart-breaking to hear midwives working 15 or 16 hours a day without a break and then having to do paperwork.

“Midwives are saying enough is enough, so we are dressing in the Call the Midwife costumes to raise awareness at one of many vigils being held across the country. It’s not a demonstration or anything like that, it’s our way of supporting the campaign. There’s a national petition urging the government to invest to solve the staffing crisis.

“The Royal College of Midwives estimates the current shortage stands at 2,500.”

The RCM also carried out a survey of midwives, which found 57 per cent were considering leaving the profession within the next year and 84 per cent were unhappy with staffing levels. More worryingly, 67 per cent were not satisfied by the quality of care they were able to deliver.

Becky, who also has three children, spent ten years as a secondary school teacher before leaving during the pandemic to become a midwife.

She said: “Women aren’t getting the birth experience they deserve and midwives feel this deeply because they want to provide that care all the way through but can’t because staff numbers are falling.

“We [students] rely on the experienced midwives who have been in the profession for 25 years, but if they’re leaving who’s passing their experience on?

“The government must invest in this profession with more staff and offer flexible working hours so people aren’t constantly overworked, and that way midwives will be retained instead of feeling broken and worn down.

“The government has made promises about investment but so far it’s not keeping those promises.”

As reported by the Herald last month, Warwick Hospital’s purpose-built birth centre has been forced to close 12 times since the start of June due to the lack of staff.

When the Bluebell Birth Centre, which has four purpose-built rooms with birthing pools, was closed, mums-to-be were directed to the hospital’s original labour ward.

However, this week South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust said: “We have recruited 20 full time midwives, 10 have started already.

“We are also recruiting specialist midwifery posts to support the wellbeing of midwives.”



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