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International Midwives Day - May 5

4 May 2006

Nurses Organisation Salutes Dedication and Professionalism of Midwives
International Midwives Day - May 5

“The New Zealand Nurses Organisation will join midwifery and nursing organisations and parents and families around the world tomorrow in acknowledging the dedication and professionalism of midwives on International Midwifery Day,”said Joy Bickley-Asher, NZNO professional services manager, today.

“The contribution of midwives in nearly 57,000 successful midwife-attended assisted births in New Zealand a year reveals the vital role of midwives,” she said.

“But despite the role that midwives play, those doing this demanding job are coping with heavy work-loads, understaffing and an unprecedented and unjustified attack on their professionalism.”

Joy Bickley-Asher said no other occupational group working in health came under the media scrutiny that existed around the work of midwives.

“Given the demands and stresses of the work, it is little wonder that the midwifery workforce has an average age of 47 and the numbers joining the profession lag behind the increase in births,” she said.

Joy Bickley-Asher said midwives, both in hospitals and working independently in the community, needed much more support for their important role.

“NZNO’s fair pay settlement in public hospitals was a step towards valuing midwives by increasing their pay, but until midwives have access to adequate training and support at work and are valued for their professionalism and dedication, shortages will continue and workload issues will continue to drive midwives away.”


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