About 25 King’s College midwifery students cycled to Westminster to raise the profile of the e-petition
for 5000 more NHS midwives.
They were on vintage-style bikes and dressed up as 1950s midwives, wearing cornflower blue uniforms, maroon cardigans and black stockings.
They cycled a six-mile route through central London today (16 July) to promote the petition, which currently has just less than 60,000 signatures.
A total of 100,000 need to add their names to the petition by August 22 for the issue to qualify for a debate in parliament.
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.’
RCM president Lesley Page joined the students at the end of their route on College Green, opposite Westminster.
She said: ‘The government knows 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 5000 more midwives.’
The students cycled along the South Bank, past St. Thomas’ Hospital and through Hyde Park.
They stopped at designated areas, handed out e-petition postcards and information and encouraged people they met to back the cause.
When they arrived at College Green, they served cake to politicians, journalists and photographers.
This included a number of favourites from Call the Midwife
, including victoria sponge, madeira and coconut cake.
The vintage Pashley bikes they rode on were kindly lent for the cycle ride by Tally Ho! Cycle Tours
, a London-based vintage cycle tour company.