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Hodgson announces midwives training programme

5 May 2006 Media Statement

Hodgson announces midwives training programme

A pilot programme to provide support for new midwives has been given the go ahead and should be operating next year, Health Minister Pete Hodgson announced today.

The Midwifery First Year of Practice programme will initially run for two years and will offer training for up to 100 graduates each year. The announcement comes on International Midwives Day and after several months when the role of midwives has come under heavy scrutiny in the media.

"New Zealand's midwives provide invaluable support and advice for thousands of New Zealand families every year," Pete Hodgson said. "The attack on the midwifery profession over the past six months has been unfair and unbalanced.

"In no other health profession has the conduct of individual practitioners been allowed to cast a cloud over a workforce that numbers in the thousands. What's worse is that the tone of the public debate has kept us from making real improvements for midwives and the families they support."

Pete Hodgson said the new First Year of Practice programme was the result of a review of midwifery education begun by the Council of Midwives in early 2005. Currently, support for graduate midwives comes largely through an informal mentoring system aimed at assisting them into self-employed practice.

"Midwives are telling us that the current level of support is inadequate. It's clear that new midwives need better professional support and mentoring in order to practice effectively.

"This programme will ensure new midwives commencing their careers are well supported, safe, skilled and confident in clinical practice. It will be a positive way to boost the confidence of new graduates and further develop their skills and assist them to provide safe, high quality services."

The Nursing Entry to Practice programme, being launched this year by the Ministry of Health's Clinical Training Agency, will provide a model for the programme.


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