Student midwives from King's College Hospital will brave the weather this afternoon by cycling a six-mile route to Parliament on vintage bikes to highlight the Royal College of Midwives' e-petition for 5,000 More Midwives.
Wearing Call the Midwife-inspired clothes (cornflower blue uniforms, maroon cardigans and black stockings) about 25 King's College midwifery students on vintage-styled Pashley bikes will converge on College Green at 3:15 p.m. to highlight the Royal College of Midwives' e-petition for 5,000 More Midwives.
The RCM in England is campaigning for 5,000 more midwives and has an e-petition lodged with the Government, which has 58,500 signatures and must achieve 100,000 by August 22nd.
Recent statistics showed that there were 688,120 live births in England last year, up over 124,000 since the start of the baby boom in 2001. Over the last decade, the number of births in the country is up by over 22 per cent. Over the same period, however, the number of midwives has risen by less than 17 per cent, which has compounded a shortage of midwives that already existed in 2001.
RCM President Lesley Page said: "The Government know there is a dire shortage of midwives, and is committed to training more midwives, but what is needed are more midwifery jobs for students once they qualify. They are our future.
"It is pointless training more midwives if they cannot get employment. The RCM has been saying for a long time that without real and sustained investment in midwives, change is hard to achieve. Our view is that in order to deliver high-quality maternity care for mothers and babies proposed by the Government, we need 5,000 more midwives."
The RCM's President Lesley Page will be joining the students at 3:15 p.m. at College Green, opposite Westminster.
Event organiser and first-year midwifery student Rebecca Ashley, 27, said: "As well as being keen cyclists, we are passionate about our future jobs as midwives, and the future of maternity services in England. We want more midwives recruited so we can have a future and continue the important role of being present at a pivotal time in women's lives when we qualify.
"We know that midwives work unfailingly hard to ensure positive and healthy childbearing experiences for mother, babies and families, our society without midwives should remain unthinkable. It is so important that we are able to find work when we qualify."
The students will cycle along the South Bank, past St. Thomas' Hospital and through Hyde Park. Stopping at designated areas, they will hand out e-petition postcards and information about the e-petition and encourage people they meet to sign it. At College Green, they plan to meet with MPs to remind them of the importance of protecting maternity services.
The student midwives will be serving MPs, journalists and photographers some of the midwives' favourite cakes from Call the Midwife, including Victoria Sponge, Madeira and Coconut cakes.
The vintage Pashley bikes have been kindly lent for the cycle ride by Tally Ho! Cycle Tours, a London-based vintage cycle tour company.
JFHC will tweet the pic later today so please log onto twitter and follow us @journalfhc if you'd like to see it.
To add your signatures to the petition visit: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/13716
Posted by Penny Hosie