Lawyers from Yorkshire-based Switalskis Solicitors’ clinical negligence department stood shoulder to shoulder in support of the region’s midwives at the ‘March with Midwives’ demonstration in Leeds, on Sunday.
The March with Midwives demonstration included thousands of midwives, parents and doulas who took part in demonstrations in cities up and down the country. The team from Switalskis Solicitors attended the march at Leeds Town Hall, where over 80 people gathered to highlight their concerns about the poor state of maternity services across the UK.
A former midwife and now clinical negligence lawyer and director at Switalskis, Kay Barnes, attended the march having experienced first-hand the chronic staff shortages and pressures that maternity services are under.
Says Kay Barnes, “In a recent survey carried out by the Royal College of Midwives, 60% of staff who responded stated they are considering leaving the profession. It is estimated that the UK is facing a shortage of 3,500 midwifes, while birth rates are increasing, which is putting strain on maternity services and putting mothers and babies at risk.
“We see every day the impact of the financial, physical and emotional burden midwives carry. The profession is traumatised and so how can maternity services possibly provide safe care to women and families? We are seeing too many families whose babies have died or are severely brain injured, mothers experiencing life-changing physical and psychiatric damage, as well as the damage to partners and families. Demonstrations like this are crucial to help get the message out that enough is enough and action needs to be taken immediately.”
The grassroots movement was formed in 2021 by maternity professionals to make their voices heard, to help improve conditions for midwives in the UK, and to improve the maternity services provided to all who access it. Its manifesto demands the Government accepts the Health and Social Care Committee’s recommendation to increase resources across the NHS and set out a workforce plan with measures to increase retention and support staff.