The following can be attributed to the College of Midwives Chief Executive, Alison Eddy:
The College continues to be concerned about the issues related to the significant midwifery staffing shortage at CCDHB.
The College acknowledges that the CCDHB has been working hard to resolve these staffing concerns, and that it supports and values its midwifery workforce. However, the current acute short staffing is indicative of a wider national midwifery workforce shortage, related to general under -valuing of women’s health, and specifically, under-resourcing within midwifery;– from the undergraduate education programme through to the midwifery workforce.
We know that midwifery leaders at DHBs around the country are working hard to resolve issues, but are limited by factors out of their control – such as a lack of funding, inequities in how health professions are resourced, and the MERAS (the Midwives’ Union) pay equity claim, which remains unsettled.
The sector is still awaiting funding to implement actions within the Midwifery Accord which was agreed and signed off by the Govt / Ministry early in 2019. This is disappointing, as it would certainly help the situation.
We also believe the lack of effort by the Government to support what is a traditionally female workforce – midwifery – is gender-related. We know women have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 in losing their jobs or experiencing a significant reduction in income. When we are in a situation where we desperately need more midwives, incentivising women to study and qualify for this profession, would appear to be a no-brainer.
Basically, this issue at CCDHB and others around the country has not happened overnight, nor is it an isolated event; the College has been raising these concerns for more than a decade.
There are solutions, we have them; we just need those who can make it happen, to get on with it.
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