Around 1,000 people joined the March with Midwives event in Stroud this morning, with Stroud Red Band providing musical support, part of a national movement in 32 towns and cities.
The post-natal unit at Stroud Maternity Hospital has been closed for more than a month due to staffing shortages, and campaigners fear it may never reopen. More than 4,500 people signed an online petition to reverse the decision to suspend post-natal beds in Stroud indefinitely.
Kate Buckingham, chair of advocacy group Stroud Maternity Matters, said: “The event today is part of a national movement called March for Midwives. Last year we had well in excess of 500 people and this year it is much bigger this year because of the interest in the post-natal beds.
“We have the MP and candidates speaking today. We’ve got Conservative MP Siobhan Baillie and parliamentary candidates Dr Simon Opher, Labour Party and Pete Kennedy from the Green Party.
“Let’s start thinking about solutions and actually, how might we move forward. There’s just been an MBRRACE-U.K report about our country having one of the worst maternity mortality rates in Europe and we know it’s high in the minds of the current government that they need to fix this issue, because that is a pretty good barometer of a broken NHS service,” said Ms Buckingham.
“We really hope we can be part of a major change in upturn and how funding is allocated.”
Video and pictures by Matt Bigwood