You are viewing an archived entry from the 2023 awards

People’s Choice Award 2023 £350,000-£1 million turnover
Judges’ Award 2023 £350,000-£1 million turnover

Speak Up, Speak Out

Film & Campaign Description

The pandemic and NHS staffing crisis have put maternity services under increasing pressure, but it is vital that women and birthing people understand that the right to be cared for with dignity and respect always stands - and that they have a right to speak up and speak out about their experiences. We created Speak Up, Speak Out in response to the increasing number of women and birthing people accessing our advice service needing urgent advice on how to make a complaint about their care. 

Speak Up, Speak Out tells the real life stories of Hiral, Leah and Maya, whose experiences of poor maternity care during pregnancy and childbirth led them to consider or to make a complaint to their Trust. Its aim is to demystify the complaints process and show how feeding back to Trusts about your care can be a force for good.

Hiral was on the labour ward when she started to feel unwell. She kept telling the midwives something was wrong but it was only when her condition deteriorated that she was taken seriously. 

She had sepsis. 

She saw speaking up and speaking out about her care as something positive as it could prevent her experience happening to other families.

Leah was in the birth pool when she noticed a shift in her body, which alerted her to a problem. 

Nobody would listen to her. 

She had a number of procedures done without her consent. 

After the birth, she realised she suffered from birth trauma. She later decided to speak up and speak out about her care to make sure her experience didn’t happen to other families.

Maya had planned a homebirth but during her labour, she realised something was wrong with her baby. She pleaded for five hours to be taken into hospital for a caesarean section.

When her baby was finally born, he needed to be resuscitated. 

She made the decision to speak and speak out about her care to make sure her experience didn’t happen to other families.

Find out more about our work on our website.


Birthrights exists to protect everyone’s human rights in childbirth, particularly those facing severe and complex disadvantage, disability, mental capacity issues and racial injustice. 

Established in 2013, our mission is to be the authority on human rights in pregnancy and childbirth in the UK and use that influence to improve services and practice throughout the maternity system. We provide essential advice and legal information to women and birthing people, train healthcare professionals and birth workers to deliver rights-respecting care, and advocate for change to maternity policy and systems.

Our impact and long-term strategy can be found on our website.

UN Sustainable Development Goals

We align with the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: