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Save our maternity service

Student midwife Louise Williams, administrator for the 'SAVE Our Maternity Service' Facebook page, explains how she hopes the page will make the government wake up to the situation maternity services are facing.

Save our maternity service facebook page
My name is Louise Williams and I am mummy to William (three years, ten months), Leighton (two years, two months) and Katelyn (15 months). I am also an administrator for the SAVE Our Maternity Service page on Facebook.

Our group (now changed to a page as it is more effective) was founded by an amazing student midwife called Sarah Kemlo on 24 August 2011, to promote the ‘recruit 5000 more midwives in England’ e-petition. She gave me the care and attention that I needed during my labour and birth (especially after such a difficult pregnancy) and gave me the most precious gift anyone could ever give – the safe arrival of my baby girl. Everybody deserves and should receive this level of maternity care.

From personal experience and family and friends' experiences of our maternity service, things were going wrong and sometimes with tragic consequences. I could easily see why some of the things that happened did happen – a shortage of midwives. I wanted to do something to make the government wake up to the situation our maternity service is facing. So when Sarah first set up the group, there was no way that I wasn't going to join and get involved.

During his pre-election campaign, David Cameron promised 3000 more midwives, but so far has only employed approximately 500 and has no intentions of increasing this. He is also making cuts that are affecting our maternity service with midwives being made redundant, student midwives once qualified not being employed, and midwives are stretched between up to three labouring women and working long shifts, sometimes with no breaks.

Our maternity service is about to reach crisis point. We need 4700 more midwives right now. It shouldn't be down to money as to whether a mother and her baby live or die. And currently, every day 17 babies die. They are either stillborn or die within the first 28 days. That's over 6000 babies a year and over 6000 families that have to suffer the loss of their baby every year. These figures are unacceptable. Many of these babies die during birth or shortly after due to a traumatic labour – we know that not all of these babies can be saved, but more midwives will greatly reduce these figures.

Our aim is to promote the e-petition as far and wide as possible to get those all important 100,000 signatures needed to get this into parliament, where MPs will have to sit up and listen.

This petition affects everybody in the country and we need everyone’s backing. So if you haven't already done so, please sign the petition and ask family and friends to sign too. We are fighting for safe maternity care to save lives.