The following can be attributed to Alison Eddy, Chief Executve of the New Zealand College of Midwives:
It is even more important now, that Aotearoa New Zealand pulls all the levers available to it to address maternity staffing issues, and as the College has been saying for several years, there are levers to pull.
A lack of priority placed on investment to recruit and retain midwives over successive Governments has led to our current situation. It is incredibly frustrating when the solutions are there, and we have been presenting these to various Governments for many years.
The gender pay inequity has not been addressed. MERAS (the Midwives union) pay equity claim is still outstanding and unresolved.
Inadequate financial support for the midwifery degree; improvements here would assist in bringing new midwives into the sector (this has been provided for trade apprenticeships following the Covid-19 pandemic during which more women than men lost their jobs).
No fast track to residency for overseas midwives coming to Aotearoa New Zealand, as announced in the recent immigration settings (other specialists and GPs were however included).
An outdated contract model for community midwives (in spite of the Ministry’s legally binding commitment to have a new one in place by now). The current model is outdated and there is insufficient investment in infrastructure providing professional support for midwives. In spite of promises to develop supports, these have never been implemented.
The College acknowledges that after many years of virtually no effective action from various Governments to address the issues facing midwifery in New Zealand, there isn’t a ‘quick fix’ however there are things that can and should be done immediately that will start to make a real difference. Unfortunately, those who can make these things happen still aren’t listening.
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