Midwives have gone on strike for the first time in 133 years
Doula UK is calling on the UK Government to put more investment in maternity services, as midwives strike for the first time.
Today, midwives have joined thousands of other NHS staff in in a four-hour walkout, in a dispute over the Government’s decision to deny NHS staff an across-the-board 1-per-cent pay rise this year.
It is the first time members of the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) have gone on strike in the 133year history of the organisation.
Last year, the RCM released its third annual State of Maternity Services report, which renewed calls for more midwives, desperately needed in England. The report suggested that, in 2012, there were nearly 129,000 more births in England than the NHS maternity service was designed to cope with.
While record numbers of student midwives are in training, there are not enough positions being recruited for in England. Some trusts are also struggling to recruit midwives for advertised positions, and have high levels of sickness amongst those employed, with workplace stress being blamed as a factor in both situations.
Doula UK has for years supported calls from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) that more midwives are desperately needed in England and that the midwives working within the NHS need more support, including a fair pay deal. Doulas have a unique perspective on the pressures that NHS maternity care is under, with not enough midwives, who are expected to work longer and longer hours, with effective year-on-year pay-cuts compared to inflation. Doula UK is calling on the UK Government to put more investment in maternity services and give NHS midwives a fair pay deal, so they can stop worrying about against-inflation pay-cuts provide the care needed for our pregnant, birthing and new mothers.
Bridget Baker, Chair of Doula UK, said:
“ Midwives provide an essential role, often working long hours in a demanding role. Withou t a fair pay deal and more investment in maternity care , NHS midwifery is going to lose more midwives at a time when more are desperately needed. Women may employ doulas to help them be more supported when NHS Services cannot provide what is needed, but doulas take a non – clinical role and cannot replace midwives. ”