News Video | Policy | GPs | Hospitals | Medical | Mental Health | Welfare | Search


The Maternity System is Not Broken – It Needs to be Valued

The Maternity System is Not Broken – It Needs to be Valued, Supported and Resourced

Ensuring midwives’ voices are heard is key in addressing staffing issues in DHB, says the Midwives’ Union, MERAS (Midwifery Representation and Advisory Service).

MERAS Co-leader (Midwifery), Caroline Conroy, says the issues that a number of DHBs are currently facing, are not new, having been signalled for many years.

“Requests for additional staff, changes to rostering and other issues, have been raised by us and midwives for several years,” says Ms Conroy. “These requests have either been ignored or rejected, and as a result we see too many midwives walk away from their midwifery jobs.”

However, Caroline Conroy says the DHB’s which are making headway with staffing issues, have one thing in common.

“They have executive leadership teams, in a timely manner, listening to and acting on concerns being raised by midwives, and are supportive of their midwife managers. There are however still some organisational barriers which means poor communication and a lack of understanding about the scale of problems until it’s too late,” she says.

Ms Conroy adds that for example, Counties Manukau District Health Board (CMDHB), has made positive changes in the last few months which won’t bear fruit immediately but are steps in the right direction.

“The retention of graduate midwives is gradually improving the midwifery staffing situation at CMDHB, and additionally they have increased the number of senior midwife roles. This ensures that, in addition to the senior midwife in the birthing suite area (which they have always had), there are more senior midwives in the maternity ward areas to support staff and to provide midwifery clinical leadership 24- hours a day,” she says.

MERAS is also part of a regular midwifery forum at CMDHB which focuses on the issues affecting the midwifery workforce (both hospital and LMC (self-employed) midwives), and the care of women. The group contributes to identifying ways to address the issues within the midwifery service which are then developed into business cases with the aim of gaining funding support from senior levels of the organisation.

“The solutions to the maternity service issues and midwifery workforce shortages are not as simple as more resourcing or better pay for midwives. The work midwives do needs to be better understood, valued and supported by politicians and policy makers alike,” says Ms Conroy.

MERAS is hopeful that a Midwifery Accord which has also been agreed to, will address challenges in the midwifery workforce, including further strengthening midwifery as an attractive career option while supporting the retention of midwives within New Zealand The Accord, which is an agreement between the Ministry of Health, MERAS, DHBs and NZNO, will focus on safe staffing including retention, the re-employment of those who have left midwifery, recruitment and encouraging new midwifery graduates.

“Midwives are a committed and passionate group of health professionals who are key in achieving positive outcomes for women and their babies. We must get the frameworks and workforce in place that ensures our midwifery-led maternity system can continue to be the world leading service it is,” she says.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Facebook Announces New Changes: Combating Hate And Extremism

Some of these changes predate the tragic terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, but that attack, and the global response to it in the form of the Christchurch Call to Action, has strongly influenced the recent updates to our policies and their enforcement. More>>

Amazon Confirms: Lord Of The Rings Series To Shoot In NZ

Amazon Studios announced today that its series based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s iconic fantasy novels The Lord of the Rings will shoot in New Zealand. Pre-production has started, and production on the series will begin in Auckland in the coming months. More>>


Birds: Dunedin's Bells Ring As City Celebrates Its Albatross

The city's churches, schools and public buildings bells would chime in unison from 1pm, in what has been a long-standing tradition marking the return of the birds - and a farewell to this season's albatross chicks. More>>

Oscar Buzz: Waititi's Jojo Rabbit Wins People's Choice Award At Toronto

Taika Waititi's new film Jojo Rabbit has nabbed the coveted Grolsch People's Choice Award at the close of Toronto International Film Festival. More>>


Broken Estate: An Expat Expert Surveys Our Media

Melanie Bunce cut her teeth in journalism at the Otago Daily Times. Now she teaches and researches it at one of the UK’s most prestigious journalism schools and tracks the trends that shape the uncertain future of news... More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland