A vigil is set to take place in Worcester this weekend as midwives look to highlight the 'urgent crisis' facing maternity services.

Midwives from Worcestershire Royal and Hereford County Hospital are standing in solidarity with parents and other healthcare workers in Cathedral Square at 2pm on Sunday (November 21). 

They'll be joined by thousands more nationwide, with 74 other demonstrations set to take place under a national campaign, dubbed '#MarchWithMidwives'. 

Attendees are demanding urgent government action to combat the "national emergency" in maternity wards across the country, which organisers say are becoming "critically unsafe".

The group says wards are buckling under current financial and staffing pressures, with maternal morbidity on the rise as a direct result.

Jennifer Cole is a midwife at Worcestershire Royal Hospital.

She's coordinating the Worcester march alongside her colleagues.

She said: "On a local level, we are very much being listened to by the Chief Executive and by people high up in the trust, and we have a good plan in place to make things better in Worcester.

"So, while it's still not perfect at Worcester, things are improving and will hopefully continue to improve.

"But in the meantime, we are still short staffed on the majority of shifts in the week. 

"We still don't feel safe, we still aren't getting breaks in a 12-and-a-half-hour shift, and this is something that is reflected nationally.

"It is stressful, and it is constantly pressured, but that's the same for every maternity unit across the country."

The 48-year-old has said that while there is an ongoing recruitment drive to help ease shortages, progress is still being stunted by national failings.

"At Worcester we are being well supported to improve the situation, but it is still not getting better because of the national pressures," she added.

"We are recruiting, but as soon as you recruit staff, others leave.

"Because maternity has been in the situation and getting worse for such a long time, it's not going to be an overnight fix.

"The support from the women and the families has been incredible, they're the reason we still get out of bed and go to work every morning.

"We couldn't do this without them as much as they couldn't do this without us.

"They do know we're trying our best, but we'd just like to be able to do better."



An estimated 30,000 people a year experience birth trauma in the UK, with up to 30% of all service users rating their birth as traumatic.

As of July, of this year, 41% of all maternity services are rated "inadequate" or "requires improvement" for safety.

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."