Petition to invest in maternity services presented to 10 Downing Street

on 17 February 2022

A petition calling on the Government to invest in maternity services has been presented to 10 Downing Street.

RCM Chief Executive Gill Walton presented the petition, which has been signed by over 123,000 people, to Health Secretary Sajid Javid and Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday 17 February 2022.

The petition, organised by University of Suffolk Midwife Cheryl Samuels, calls on urgent investment for maternity services in England to help retain NHS midwives and better support student midwives.

Last year, the number of midwives in England declined adding to the existing shortages. An RCM survey showed that over half of midwives are considering leaving the profession, with the highest proportion of dissatisfaction coming from midwives who have worked in the NHS for five years or less.

RCM Chief Executive Gill Walton said: “Maternity services have been at the bottom of the list for investment for far too long and we’re now seeing what that means in practice. Midwives are being spread too thinly across the service because there are just too few of them. That’s compromising the level of care they want to give to pregnant women and it’s driving many of them out of the profession. It is absolutely within the Government’s gift to change this, by putting proper investment in maternity services and by demonstrating that they value the work that midwives do. We’ve been saying this for years, and I’m so grateful to everyone who signed this petition for adding their voices to ours.”

Midwifery Lecturer at the University of Suffolk Cheryl Samuels, who started the petition, said: “I started the petition to ask the Government to invest urgently in NHS maternity services. We currently have a midwifery staffing crisis and maternity services are suffering. The unprecedented pressure this is causing negatively impacts midwives' wellbeing, staff retention and the care received by families. My hope is that the Government listens to the call for support so that we can move forward with a strong midwifery profession that is able to provide safe and effective care, improving outcomes for women and families.”

The petition ‘Support urgent government investment into maternity services to solve the staffing crisis’ can be found here.

Photo credit: The Royal College of Midwives