Midwives across East Lancashire are taking part in a national vigil this weekend to demand more time, more money and more autonomy.

The grassroots movement comes as midwives across the country are begging for help for a system that is 'not just under pressure or on its knees, but utterly broken and not fit for purpose'.

The March With Midwives manifesto states that maternity negligence payouts are crippling the NHS, with a system wide review urgently required.

To make their voices heard, midwives in East Lancashire will be taking part in a march this Sunday, November 21, starting in Burnley at 2pm.

The march will coincide with others taking place at various locations across the country at exactly the same time.

While the location of the meet is yet to be publicly announced, everyone wanting to be involved in the Burnley vigil is being asked to join a dedicated Facebook group so logistics can be co-ordinated closer to the time.

A spokesperson for March With Midwives movement said: "This year has seen maternity services become critically unsafe for staff and users.

"A recent Royal College of Midwives survey of midwives found that 60 per cent of all staff are thinking of leaving the profession.

"For every 30 newly qualified midwives, 29 are leaving.

"Midwifery skills are being lost and the profession is being eroded.

"Black women have a four times higher risk and Asian women double the risk of dying in pregnancy than white women and are more likely to die during the childbearing year.

"Concerns are being missed and intervention made too late - much of this due to staffing problems.

"The maternity system is not just under pressure or even on its knees. It is utterly broken and not fit for purpose."

Midwives are now asking the Government to listen to all staff and service users and their advocates, to fund emergency retention, to enable anyone willing to work or train and to reduce the demands on staff.

For more information visit March With Midwives Burnley on Facebook or @midwivesmarch on Twitter.

Anyone attending is asked to observe social distancing measures, bring a mask with them, and consider bringing a banner or placard.

The police and council have been made aware of the vigil and will also be in attendance.