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Please join the Stroud March With Midwives this Sunday 20th November.

and don't miss the premiere of a community film on Friday 18th November at Lansdown Hall, "Days of Hope - The Chartists in Stroud" associated with the rally on Selsley Hill in 1839.
Come and join the #MarchWithMidwives and support midwives, birth supporters, women and their families.

Stroud Maternity Matters have organised an event this Sunday 20th November. They say "Gather [at 10.30am] on Field Road near the [Maternity] unit then March down the hill to hear speeches on The Subscription Rooms steps. All welcome! Bring your banners, bring your passion for midwifery care. All are welcome". As the Stroud News and Journal say in their coverage, a huge crowd is expected - be there!

There will also be a march in Gloucester - starting at 1.30pm at Kings Square, before marching through Kings Walk to Eastgate Street, around Gloucester for just under 2 miles, finishing with a little bit of Northgate street then onto the Oxbode by old Debenhams back to the Kings Square at around 2.30pm.
Tell organisers you plan to come and share event details on Facebook
Organisers are asking people to wear something red to highlight the crisis in maternity and our love and support for midwives. They are also asking people to bring banners and wands - sharing this video on how to make a handprint wand.

The Red Band will be there to support the cause and there will be speeches from Stroud Materntiy Matters' Kate Buckingham and Claire Rudge who will read on behalf of a midwives, local service user Claire Mole, James Beecher from Keep Gloucestershire NHS public, Jessica Lever who will speak on the national context, Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie, the Labour Party's candidate to be Stroud's MP Simon Opher, the Green Party's candidate to be Stroud's MP Pete Kennedy.

The march is part of national protests, but also comes at a time of a significant erosion of the services provided at Stroud Maternity Unit. Provision of post-natal beds is currently much reduced on an ongoing basis (beds are only available for the 6-12 hours immediately after birth. Prior to this change new mothers were able to stay at least 24 hours and in some cases several days - particularly important if home is not an appropriate place to be).

Over 6,700 people have signed a petition to "keep Stroud Maternity Unit fully operational".
Sign the petition - Keep Stroud Maternity Unit fully operational
Read a local mother's perspective - Stroud Times published Lynsey Kelleher's heartfelt article on what postnatal care means
Listen to Kate Buckingham from Stroud Maternity Matters discussing the issues on BBC Radio Gloucestershire
Campaigners from Stroud Maternity Matters are concerned that this could signal a wider erosion of the service, and fear closure - as has happened with the Aveta midwife-led unit in Cheltenham, which is closed on an ongoing basis. In June, health bosses said "we expect that planned recruitment will allow re-opening [of the Cheltenham unit] in October", but in October they announced that continued "staffing challenges" mean they will "continue this closure for a further three months with a commitment to review in January 2023". In this context, that the decision to close Stroud Maternity Unit's post-natal beds is being "reviewed weekly" is less reassuring than NHS bosses might be trying to imply.

We must fight to restore these services, just as the campaign to Restore Emergency At Cheltenham General Hospital (REACH) continues in light of the downgrading of services at Cheltenham A&E (which terrible knock-on effects on A&E provision at Gloucester).
More information from the national campaign below, but first information about community film Days of Hope - The Chartists in Stroud, screening this Friday 18th November at 7.30pm.
On 21st May 1839, a meeting took place of Selsley Common where over 10,000 people came together to campaign for the vote. This community film Days of Hope tells the story of the Chartists in Stroud through a mix of drama, comedy, information and music.

The film premiere will be followed by live music from the two bands who have written songs for the film The Forgetting Curve and Chinese Burn. The film itself features many local people including Jon Seagrave, Stuart Butler, Mark Abbott, Paul McLaughlin, Alexa Jones, Paul Southcott, Angela Findlay, Bill Jones, Nimue Brown, Tom Brown, and James Alexander Dart.

The premiere of the film is at 7.30pm on Friday 18th November at Lansdown Hall.
Tickets are £10 and are available from, or via the button below:
Buy a ticket to watch the Days of Hope premiere
Days of Hope - The Chartists in Stroud, screening this
Friday 18th November at 7.30pm
Listen to a podcast featuring March with Midwives activists

March with Midwives Manifesto 2022

Click to read the manifesto in full (.docx), which includes references. Key excerpts below:

"Radical action and crisis management measures are required IMMEDIATELY.
Maternity services are critically unsafe for staff and users
• On July 25th 2022, the Health and Social Care Select Committee’s Expert Panel declared there is “no credible government strategy to tackle the situation” in maternity care
• After a consultation in which 75% of respondent midwives and maternity support workers asked to be balloted, the Royal College of Midwives will be balloting in Scotland, England, and Wales on industrial action this Autumn
• 60% of UK midwives surveyed in 2021 were considering leaving the profession
• 57% said they have plans to leave the NHS in the next year
• More than 80% of those planning to leave cited inadequate staffing levels and more than 67% said they were unhappy with the quality and safety of care they are currently able to deliver
• In 2018 The RCM estimated the UK was short over 3,500 midwives
• Between April 2021 and April 2022, England has lost around 600 midwives - midwife numbers have fallen in every single region in England
Midwives demand more time, more money and more autonomy
‘Midwives Voices, Midwives Demands’, White Ribbon Alliance 2021
The March With Midwives movement declare that we must:
LISTEN Listen to parents and maternity staff
FUND Fund increased maternity staffing
ENABLE Enable improved maternity care
REDUCE Reduce the demands on maternity staff
ACT Act immediately to save maternity services
1. LISTEN: The Government must accept the Health and Social Care committee recommendation to increase resources across the NHS and set out a workforce plan with measures to increase retention and support staff
2. FUND: An immediate appropriate, restorative pay rise for midwives that reflects the value society places on their vital work. Award recruitment and retention payments to new entrants and existing staff. Provide financial support for student midwives and create posts for all newly qualified midwives.
3. ENABLE: The government must renew their commitment to implementing the recent Women’s’ Health Strategy by being ambitious in their approach to improving the quality and accessibility of service and information around women’s health.
4. REDUCE: An immediate review and reduction of the administrative responsibilities of midwives, including the requirement for duplication of data from or within the medical record.
5. ACT: Unions representing midwives must enact and support radical industrial action to ensure that we hold our government to account and protect midwives and the families they serve"
A video of last year's March With Midwives in Stroud, thanks to Stroud Times.
Some recent articles you may find interesting
Latest national news from Keep Our NHS Public

Holly Johnston from Keep Our NHS Public writes: "Unions and staff are recognising that the pay award imposed by the government is nowhere near enough to help deal with the cost of living crises or the staffing crisis we have in the NHS. Staff are leaving at an alarming rate; 40,000 nurses alone have left in the last year.

If we don’t address the pay erosion thousands have faced in the NHS, NHS staff will simply leave which leaves the door open for private companies, for staff to be outsourced and an increase in zero-hour contracts.

If there are no staff left in the NHS, there is no NHS. The fight on pay is not just about bettering our own conditions but is directly linked to patient safety and preventing the NHS from being privatised.

It is clear that NHS workers have had enough. A statement by NHS Workers Say NO! reads

NHS staff do not reach the decision to strike lightly. We are voting because we have had enough of our patients receiving unsafe care, in an understaffed and underfunded service which is rapidly being sold-off for profit. like the rest of the UK, NHS staff are overdue an above-inflation pay rise. We were heroes during the pandemic, yet as soon as we try to improve our pay and conditions, we become the enemy."

Please get in touch if you would like to get more involved - with leafleting, organising events, or otherwise helping to keep the Keep Gloucestershire's NHS Public campaign running - click to email us
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