Wellington Scoop

Midwives picnicking at Parliament – concern at staff shortages

Press Release – NZNO
Midwives from the Wellington region are holding a picnic at the parliamentary grounds on Friday, not only to celebrate their profession but also to offer political parties the opportunity to tell them how they visualise this workforce thriving over the next few years and more. Chief Executive of the College of Midwives, Karen Guilliard is speaking.

Picnic organiser and Midwife Sarah Gilbertson says that the number of vacancies in the hospitals is making the job unattractive to midwives.

“I love my job but we feel under-valued, underpaid and over stretched. It’s time we said enough is enough and demand that our profession receive the remuneration we deserve so we can continue to deliver high quality care to mothers, babies and families,” Ms Gilberston said.

The standard of care that New Zealand midwives offer is world class and New Zealand midwives have plenty to celebrate on International Midwives’ Day. But midwives are also acutely aware that many maternity units around the country are short staffed.

Chief Executive Memo Musa is a member of the Safe Staffing Healthy Workplaces Unit Governance Group and says that although there are efforts to attract and recruit more midwives, the issues of securing safe staffing levels are still prominent and putting pressure on midwives.

“We are hearing that midwives are increasingly managing women with higher needs than in the past and that there are many vacancies in many hospitals and this is putting a strain on their service and leads to care rationing,” Mr Musa said.

He says the Ministry’s Midwifery Strategic Steering group are focusing on systems to manage and assess safe staffing levels but that inadequate health funding is contributing to the problem.

“Only so much can be done within an underfunded health system. This profession has the highest standards and I am concerned that the ongoing underfunding eventually means the delivery of exemplary service by New Zealand midwives may have consequences,” he said.

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