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$1.6m recognition for rural midwives

Hon Damien O’Connor
Associate Minister of Health
Hon Steve Chadwick
Associate Minister of Health

7 July 2008 Media Statement
$1.6m recognition for rural midwives

A $1.6 million bonus has been paid to 432 midwives working in rural areas, Associate Health Ministers Damien O'Connor and Steve Chadwick announced today.

“This bonus will help address the shortage of rural midwives in some parts of the country, and is designed to retain current midwives, while encouraging others to work in rural areas,” Damien O’Connor said.

Individual midwives received a one-off payment ranging from $500 to $10,000, from the annual $2 million fund allocated by Cabinet in April 2007.

“Living and working in rural areas is highly rewarding, but issues of isolation and access to support networks sometimes make it hard to attract and retain rural midwives,” Damien O’Connor said.

“The bonus aims to assist midwives to continue in rural midwifery practice and recognises some of the particular challenges that rural midwives face.”

“Midwifery staffing pressures are predicted to last for the next two to three years, and we are working on long-term solutions and taking action now to increase the number of midwives graduating" Steve Chadwick said.

"There are already promising signs of the tertiary sector responding to midwifery staffing needs. The number of midwives in training has increased from 415 in 2007 to 512 in February 2008. The Tertiary Education Commission is working with providers to further increase the number of new enrolments from 2009” Steve Chadwick said.

"The rural bonuses are just one way to approach recruitment and retention challenges. We have directed the Ministry of Health to develop and roll out a range of strategies to better support this important part of our health workforce," Damien O'Connor said.


ENDS

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