MIDWIVES marched for a better, safer future for families in Worcester as they campaigned for an end to the crisis in care.

Hundreds gathered in Cathedral Square in Worcester for the 'March with Midwives' at 2pm on Sunday. Many of the midwives work at Worcestershire Royal Hospital in Worcester and are deeply concerned about staff shortages, recruiting and retaining staff and, ultimately, the experience of parents and babies. Others there were former midwives who had left because of what they felt were poor working conditions and, as a result, poorer standards of care. Some were mums who had had bad maternity experiences and did not want others to suffer as they had, including their own children.

Many made placards, marching around the square as they chanted ‘birth rights are human rights!’ A call went up of ‘when do we want? More midwives! When do we want them? Now!” One NHS worker interjected with ‘yesterday’, a reflection of how urgent the crisis is for those on the ground. Worcester midwives included Jen Cole, 48, Julia Cooper, 51, Clare Phillips, 42 and Ursula Greenaway, 42. Mrs Cooper said the march was about ‘raising awareness about short staffing and the pressures we are under constantly’. “We are under stress constantly. We can’t provide the care we want to provide,” she said.

Mrs Cole said: “We want to be listened to at a higher level, at a Government level. The people making the plans need to listen to the people on the ground who are delivering the care. We have really been pushed to the edge.”

Another Worcester midwife, Renate Brown-Goode was supported by her son, Oscar, 10, who had a placard which read: “My mum deserves better.”

Mrs Brown-Goode said: “We break ourselves trying to provide care when we’re short staffed. That leaves us completely empty when we go home to our own families.”

Sharon Groves, 44, a midwife and Worcester and Kidderminster said midwives ‘can’t provide the care they came into the profession for’.