NZ Institute for Economic Research Report Backs Midwives Call For Pay Equity
Recommends Injection of $50m Annually Just To Address The Status Quo
A report from NZIER has confirmed that urgent changes are needed to funding for community midwives in order to address health and pay inequities.
The report, “Sustainable midwifery: Supporting improved wellbeing and improved equity” comes in the days following a landmark pay equity decision for Canadian midwives.
Being released on Thursday 5 March, the NZIER report identifies that the current funding model is not fit for purpose and needs an overhaul. It confirms the College’s concerns that community midwives pay fails to remunerate them sufficiently for the work they do.
Chief Executive of the College, Alison Eddy, says midwives now have definitive economic evidence to support their position.
“The report shows that due to the needs of mothers, midwives are working 17–26% more than a full-time equivalent role, and that role is now far more complex than it was,” she says. “However, the issues we have been consistently raising are not only about remuneration. It was essential for us to show how effective New Zealand’s midwifery-led maternity system is in providing significant health gains to women and babies in terms of improved outcomes and cost effectiveness (when properly funded), and this report undeniably does that.”
Ms Eddy says communicating this to bureaucrats and politicians over the years, has been challenging.
“How effective we are at our jobs is linked to how invisible we are,” she says. “Midwives just get on and do the work – important and specialised work, and that can make it difficult for decision makers and those who sign off funding, to understand exactly what we do.”
The NZIER report clearly shows that more targeted funding needs to be put into community midwifery so women with greater needs can get the care they need.
“Midwives provide a personalised healthcare service which lowers barriers for parents, and relieves pressure on hospitals. We are constantly in homes and communities across the country. When you see that the rate of perinatal mortality (the death of a baby in the weeks preceding or following birth), is 34% higher in the most-deprived neighbourhoods, it’s evident we must resource midwives appropriately so they can reach those women,” says Ms Eddy.
The report also says properly resourcing midwives will aid the retention of the workforce and support the recruitment of new midwives.
-ENDS- For more information, please contact Ali Jones on 027 247 3112.