The petition – signed by 30,000 midwives, health professionals and parents – calls for an additional 10,000 midwives to be trained. It is part of a two-year campaign run by Midwivesonline.com.
According to the Royal College of Midwives over the past five years the total number of midwives in England has increased by 7% to 19,700, but the birth rate has risen by 16%.
In response to the presentation to the petition, RCN general secretary Peter Carter said: ‘There are not enough new staff being trained, whilst at the same time midwifery training programmes have applicants that cannot be given places. There is an easy solution; the SHAs should fund more training places to meet the demand.
‘We know that many of the midwives in the RCN are coming up to retirement, so this is a problem that is only going to get worse, not better,’ he said. ‘The Government is facing a retirement timebomb and needs to take action.’