November 13, 2021 7.00 am This story is over 24 months old

Midwives ‘working 13 hours without break’ to hold vigil at Lincoln Cathedral

‘Every single shift is short staffed’

A group of midwives from Lincoln County Hospital are set to protest at Lincoln Cathedral in a plea for action over a range of issues, including understaffing.

More than 43 staff from the maternity department in Lincoln are expected to attend the vigil at Lincoln Cathedral between 2pm and 4pm on Sunday, November 21. There will also be ‘March with Midwives UK’ vigils held at various other locations across the UK.

They claim the maternity services are grossly understaffed with midwives working 13 hour shifts without a break on a regular basis.

Lincoln midwife Laura Morley told The Lincolnite the team of midwives are pulling together to make sure women are well cared for, and providing high quality maternity care is the reason they joined the profession.

She said: “On a day to day basis there are vast issues with staffing the service, already today there have been requests for midwives to cover seven shifts which are short over the coming days.

“Every single shift is short staffed which results in midwives missing their breaks (given we work 13-hour shifts that’s a lot considering it happens on a regular basis) and women are experiencing long delays and ultimately we aren’t able to deliver the level of care that they deserve.

“This is leaving midwives feeling demoralised and therefore leaving the profession.

“We are an amazing team and everyone wants the very best for the women in our service. We pull together, skip meals, leave work late, cover extra shifts because we want to give the very best care to women using our services but we are at breaking point.

“Ultimately, we shouldn’t have to, we shouldn’t be in a position where maternity services are so grossly underfunded that we have to make those sacrifices to deliver the care women deserve.”

The aim of the vigil is to stand in solidarity as parents, maternity users, lay birth workers and healthcare professionals in a call for government action to address the urgent crisis in maternity services.

The March with Midwives manifesto states that 2021 has “seen maternity services become critically unsafe for staff and users”. A recent Royal College of Midwives survey found 60% of staff were thinking of leaving the profession.

It has prompted a call for immediate government action – read the national March with Midwives Manifesto here.

They are demanding the government and decision makers:

  • Listen to all staff and service users and their advocates
  • Fund emergency retention
  • Focus on recruitment
  • Reduce the demands on staff

Laura said that findings from a very recent CQC inspection indicated that mums and babies were safe and well cared for, and that they “just need urgent government support for recruitment and retention of midwives”.

United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust declined to comment.

The Department of Health & Social Care were contacted for a statement, but there was no reply by the time of publication.