After broken promises and more than four years of negotiating with the Ministry of Health, the country’s midwives have had enough.
“It is time to really push to get better support and funding for our community midwives,” says the College of Midwives Chief Executive, Alison Eddy, “and we are asking for the backing of as many New Zealanders as possible.”
The #backmidwives petition is now live, and calls on the Government to:
• implement a revised funding model for community-based midwifery services
• develop a dedicated organisation to support community-based midwives, and
• implement fair and reasonable pay, for community-based midwives.
“It is extremely disappointing that despite more than four years of mediating with the Ministry of Health and Government about appropriately resourcing community-based midwives, there has been little progress. Whilst there have been some wins, we continue to wait for midwives’ work to be fully recognised and properly supported and funded. Despite the lack of action, many midwives continue to provide care to women, but others have walked away from the profession or have reduced their caseloads.
If we do nothing we will lose more midwives from our profession. We now have workforce shortages in both the community and many of our birthing units throughout the country resulting in a reduction in maternity services and even closure of some of our smaller birthing units,” says Alison Eddy
She continues. “Midwives are health professionals who love what they do and they are very good at it. However, they must be paid fairly and have adequate support to continue their work.”
Eddy says they have waited long enough and have no choice but to launch a petition and campaign for wider support from New Zealanders across the country to help the politicians hear our voices.
“Despite some pretty significant stories in the media highlighting maternity issues around the country – for years I might add – the Ministry and the Government have been too slow to respond. As these workforce shortages occur, we see women’s access to maternity care continuing to be eroded. And what’s worse, it’s happening under a government which promotes how important the first 1000 days of a child’s life are. Pregnancy is the start of the first 1000 days, yet midwives’ work remains inadequately supported,” says Alison Eddy.
New Zealand’s midwifery-led maternity model is revered around the world. It works very well indeed when it is resourced appropriately. Unfortunately, that still appears to be something the Government is struggling to acknowledge and action, and we really urge them to get on with it. We encourage New Zealanders to support us and in doing so, they will be supporting women and whānau everywhere.”
The Petition is available to sign here and will run until March 2020.