Peaceful vigil to be held in support of Lister midwives
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Masses of supporters are expected to gather in Hitchin this weekend in support of Lister Hospital midwives.
On Sunday, November 21, families, lay-people, midwives, doulas and other medical professionals will come together in a peaceful vigil in Market Place to show support for midwives based at the Stevenage hospital, who are struggling in the maternity crisis
The event is organised by a local collective as part of the UK grassroots movement March with Midwives.
Members of the public are encouraged to attend the vigil, which starts at 2pm, and listen to the poems, stories and live music. There will also be an opportunity to write a message of support to a local midwife.
More than 60 other vigils will be held simultaneously up and down the country, including at Wardown Park in Luton, Watford Library, Parker's Piece in Cambridge at Bedford's Harpur Centre - towns that all have maternity units.
The vigils will act as a call on the government to listen to staff and service users and their advocates, fund emergency retention of staff, enable qualified midwives who are willing to work and support students to enter training and finish their courses, and reduce the demands on staff.
As midwives turn away from their profession and maternity units close their doors, the government is being called on to implement urgent crisis management.
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According to the Royal College of Midwives, for every 30 newly qualified midwives, 29 turn their backs on the profession.
This, March with Midwives say, is pushing the safety of childbirth to breaking point, as infant and maternal morbidity and mortality are on the rise.
Bassingbourn doula Jane Wallington said: "Giving birth in the UK, a high-income country, is becoming critically unsafe. This is unacceptable.
"Where women and babies are not well, their families, communities and countries become unwell. This crisis impacts every level of society."
For further information on this weekend's vigil from March with Midwives UK, visit their 19,000 member strong Facebook page or follow @midwivesmarch on Twitter, where you can also access the March for Midwives manifesto and other resources.
More information about the vigil in Hitchin can be found here.
Are you attending this weekend's event? Send your pictures and testimonials to email@example.com for inclusion in our coverage.