A vigil will be held in a call for the government to implement urgent crisis management and resources to support midwives.

The ‘March for Midwives’ will take place outside Watford Library on November 21, at 2pm, in a call to support maternity units and tackling the maternal morbidity and mortality rates on the rise.

It will be one of the many peaceful protests taking place across the UK in every town with a maternity unit.

A recent Royal College of Midwives (RCM) survey found that 60 per cent of staff are thinking of leaving their profession, and for every 30 newly qualified midwives, 29 are leaving.

The RCM warns that “midwives are being driven out of the NHS” by understaffing and fears they cannot deliver safe care to women in the current system.

According to the March for Midwives group, the closure of maternity units and declining numbers of midwives is causing a crisis where maternity services are becoming “critically unsafe” for both staff and users.

The group says that top-down pressures that include fear of disciplinary or legal action result in a lack of midwifery autonomy and an erosion of the traditional role of the midwife, with midwifery skills being lost and the profession eroded.

Local midwives, medical professionals and families will attend the Watford event which is hoped to share awareness – with at least over 100 people expected to attend.

The message that will be shared will be for the government to “listen” to all staff and service users, “fund” emergency retention of staff, “enable” all qualified midwives to enter training and finish their courses and to “reduce” the demands of staff.

The RCM’s General Secretary and Chief Executive, Gill Walton, said: “Every midwife and maternity support worker goes to work to provide safe, quality care.

“That so many feel that understaffing means they are unable to do so is deeply worrying. What these numbers suggest is a midwife exodus, which will leave already-struggling services on their knees.

“Quite rightly, there is a strong focus on improving maternity safety, but there is a risk that the Government is ignoring the essential ingredient to that: having the right staff, in the right place.”

People are encouraged to come along and show their support to the West Hertfordshire protest in Watford outside the library.