‘As a community midwife, based at a London hospital, I stand in solidarity with all healthcare workers, and others, who are protesting against this government’s wilful neglect and destruction of the social fabric of the UK, and particularly of our great National Health Service.
Laura Godfrey-Isaacs, Midwife in London
In 2015, I stood on a picket line, as a student midwife, supporting my qualified colleagues against a punitive 1% pay rise, in the first ever midwife strike.
Fast forward to 2023, and we have multiple public sector picket lines – the first ever for nurses, as well as ambulance workers, bus and train drivers, civil servants, barristers, university lecturers and physiotherapists – with more to come from junior doctors.
As a community midwife, based at a London hospital, I stand in solidarity with all healthcare workers, and others, who are protesting against this government’s wilful neglect and destruction of the social fabric of the UK, and particularly of our great National Health Service.
This government doesn’t care about maintaining the NHS and other public services.
This government doesn’t care about the crisis in maternity services, and our broken midwives.
This government doesn’t care about mothers and babies.
The crisis in maternity care has been a slow car crash, witnessed and documented for many years, seen in plain sight. The service is crumbling. This has culminated in the recent Care Quality Commission report outlining that 39% of maternity units “require improvement” or are “inadequate”, and detailing how record numbers of people are dissatisfied with their birth experience.
Still this government takes no action, but seeks to demonise striking healthcare workers who feel they have no option but to strike, in order to highlight the issues.
The midwifery profession is struggling with an unacceptable workload, moral injury and burnout, from the pandemic plus years of underinvestment – unable to give the quality of care we want and need to give. We are short of over 2,000 midwives. 29 out of 30 student midwives, trained in the NHS, don’t go into the profession but leave with a debt of over £40,000, and 55% consider leaving before they qualify. Over half of current midwives are considering leaving their job, with over 57% saying they intend to leave the NHS in the next year, according to the Royal College of Midwives.
Today’s reality is of a maternity service that is widely inadequate, unsafe and damaging to mothers, babies, families and staff. This risks the health and wellbeing of those directly involved, as well as the whole of society. How we are born and how we give birth affects our mental and physical health for the rest of our lives.
We need to act now, and together, to amplify our collective voices in protest against a government that puts profit before people, has no interest in addressing the growing health inequalities in the country, and is targeting the NHS as the next public service to be sold off to the private sector.
If you need an ambulance, or you or someone you know is giving birth then you should quite rightfully expect the NHS to be there to support you. But this basic assumption is now smashed – you may wait hours for emergency care, go onto a labour ward that is dangerously short-staffed, or have your planned home birth cancelled, as there is no ambulance service available to transport you during an emergency.
This protest is about fighting for the heart of what we do in the NHS – an excellent service to all, free at the point of delivery. This is now threatened, with government ministers actively suggesting we should pay for GP or A&E visits. Vulnerable migrant women are already charged £6-9k for their maternity care.
The NHS has lost its status as the most efficient health service in the world, and we are missing vital funding in order to sustain and build the services to meet the needs of our population in the future.
This government doesn’t care, but we do!
So, join us at the ‘Act Now to Save Our NHS’ national demo on 11th March and demand this government steps up to their responsibilities, stops eroding the NHS, and funds our NHS properly, for all our sakes.
Laura Godfrey-Isaacs is a Midwife in London
Sorry but the public dissagree with your demands for yet more money. Only 100k signatures on your petition shows this. Quit your greed and get to work like eveyone else.
The NHS staff’s problem is they have self inflated ego’s and infected with greed.
I have been a Midwife for 30 years.
Our young midwives are leaving in droves battered by cuts and staff shortages day after day.. they are are future . They should not be burdened with student loans they need a decent salary.
Our post natal care is minimal our national breat feeding rates a disgrace.. Due only to the lack of staff to provide this care, nothing complex just not enough.
I stand alongside the Nurses.