The RCM is to continue pushing the Government to put 5,000 more midwifes in place across England despite missing the 100,000 signatures needed to qualify for a debate in parliament with following its recent campaign.
The e-petition which closed at midnight on 22nd August had attracted over 75,000 signatures and further support from the Patients Association, NCT, charity Baby Lifeline and MPs from each of the main three political parties.
The petition and campaign also attracted support and signatures from many celebrities and maternity carers such as England and Arsenal football Theo Walcott, artist Sam Taylor Johnson, and actors Pam Ferris, Stephen McGann and Terri Dwyer.
RCM Chief Executive Cathy Warwick said: ‘We are delighted that more than 75,000 people are calling on the government to take action to recruit more midwives and this huge groundswell of public support reflects how much people value maternity services, mothers, babies and midwives.
‘This support means so much to our members and reflects the public consensus that we need more midwives.
‘In order to deliver the high-quality maternity care for mothers and babies proposed by the government, we need 5000 more midwives and the public have shown that they support this argument.’
North East Labour MP Grahame Morris, a member of the House of Commons Health Select Committee, said: ‘The shortage of midwives affects every region in England. We need urgent action from government, which includes honouring their commitment to recruit the equivalent of 5000 more full-time midwives.
‘Care for women but especially for babies at the very start of life should be a top priority for NHS resources rather than expanding specialist fee paying services overseas.’
Henry Smith, Conservative MP for Crawley, said: ‘The fact that so many people have signed this petition to protect maternity services underlines just how vitally important this issue is. I am happy to say here and now that I will continue to raise the issue of midwife numbers in parliament.’
Andrew George, Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives, added: ‘Inadequate staff-to-patient ratios puts patient safety at risk, not least in midwifery where good quality maternity care is paramount.
'That so many people have registered their support for the campaign to make sure that we have safe levels of clinically qualified midwives in our hospitals and in the community speaks volumes.’