Home Midwives College roles and services Pay negotiations Member Communication – Budget 19 update

Member Communication – Budget 19 update

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30 May 2019

Dear members,

This afternoon, the College mediation team met with senior Ministry officials and received a detailed breakdown on this year’s budget allocation for midwifery.

The allocation is as follows:

  • $7.425 million (a 4.93% increase) in Section 88 fees. This will be applied across the LMC and non LMC modules from July
  • An additional $500,000 towards the existing rural midwifery locum service
  • Funding to support Maori health workforce development. This is $2.5 million a year for 4 years ($10 million in total). This funding is not targeted specifically for Maori midwifery but across a number of Maori health workforces
  • $1.08 million a year over 4 years ($4.335 million in total) to support Pacific students who want to gain a midwifery or nursing undergraduate degree.

The additional funding for the rural locum service will only maintain the existing level of service which is being provided to both rural and urban midwives presently. To date the urban emergency locum service has been funded by unspent money from other contracts. Health Workforce have halved the amount of funding that the College will be able to access to fund this locum service, so the $500,000 allocated in this year’s budget will simply maintain what is already being provided rather than expand the service.

Overall it is deeply disappointing that the government has not seen fit to prioritise the workforce that is crucial to the wellbeing of mothers and babies in its ‘wellbeing budget’. The Prime Minister announced in her speech to parliament, $10 million towards expanding a well child nursing service to women antenatally in three sites. The disparity with the allocation of $7.4 million for approximately 1300 LMC midwives who provide care to 60,000 mothers and babies shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the midwifery model of care.

Following our post budget meeting with the Ministry, it would seem that it is the politicians who  don’t understand the value of the midwifery role. We are working on a communication strategy in order to inform politicians and we will need members help with this over the coming weeks.

As well as a further increase in pay, the working conditions of community midwives also need urgent attention. The co-design recommendations addressed this through the establishment of a community midwifery organisation that will manage the new blended funding model for community midwives by July 2020.

The co-design work is not reflected in this budget and we did not expect that it would be.

The business contribution payment of $5 million is likely to be paid out again under similar terms as last year, from October 2019 onwards, although we have not finalised the details of this with the Ministry at this stage.

The second midwife fee will continue to be claimable as per the current terms and conditions.

The College and mediation team is very much aware that many midwives will be frustrated at the small increase that has been allocated in this budget given how far behind pay equity, community midwives are. This frustration is exacerbated by the protracted nature of the negotiations.

We have repeatedly and specifically asked the Ministry to communicate directly to midwives their intention for a new contract to be in place by July 2020 and for them to update you on the work that is underway.

We will continue to keep you informed.

Ngā mihi

Alison Eddy

Chief Executive

PO Box 21-106 | Edgeware | Christchurch 8143

T (03) 372 2732 | F (03) 377 5662 | www.midwife.org.nz | https://www.facebook.com/nzcom/