Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search


Midwives Union MERAS On Midwifery Crisis

The significant shortage in the number of midwives in Capital and Coast DHB is having a severe impact on the midwives employed there.

MERAS, the midwives’ union, says there may have been as many as 17 resignations in the last three months from CCDHB and this has led to pressure on the remaining midwives to deliver the standard of care that both the midwives and women and their babies can expect.

MERAS Co-leader Jill Ovens says, “As every midwife leaves, the stress levels go up, midwives who are stretched to the limit feel they cannot do their best, and more midwives move on. It becomes a vicious circle.”

The union’s workplace representatives are working with management to find short-term solutions to address the crisis, but the reality is there is a national midwifery shortage that has been known about for years.

In its introduction to its own Midwifery Workforce Information Report (2018) the DHBs said: “The DHB midwifery workforce is under pressure nationally and is facing widespread workforce challenges. There is a recognised lack of midwives nationally, problems with understaffed maternity units struggling to meet demand for midwifery services, as well as difficulty retaining and recruiting midwives.”

A Midwifery Accord set up with the DHBs and Ministry of Health was an outcome of the MERAS DHBs MECA (Multi Employer Collective Agreement) negotiations which concluded in 2019. The Accord has addressed some issues. A Midwifery Career Pathways has been agreed to encourage midwives to keep working in the DHBs by opening up opportunities as senior midwives.

But the basic problems remain. The Midwifery Pay Equity claim looks to be heading to the Employment Relations Authority. Midwives have been told to exercise “wage restraint” in their negotiations with the DHBs.

“Midwives need to be valued by paying them a decent salary that recognises their high level of skill and knowledge and at the very least keeps pace with the cost of living,” says Ms Ovens.

“It is especially galling that skilled, experienced senior midwives, with huge responsibilities for keeping everything working, are being told they won't get any pay increase because they earn a few dollars over an arbitrary salary cap imposed by the Government.”

MERAS believes there should be a retention allowance where there are high vacancies, and this would certainly help in the case of CCDHB, but this has been rejected so far.

Ms Ovens says part of the problem is that we have been far too reliant on overseas trained midwives and have not been educating enough New Zealanders. In particular, she says, we have not been educating enough Maori, Asian and Pacific midwives to meet the needs of these very groups with high population growth.

“Everyone acknowledges that urgent action is needed. We do not have enough New Zealand trained midwives to meet current and future need,” Jill Ovens says. “And although applications to tertiary institutions for midwifery education have gone up this year, it will be four years before they graduate.”

Ms Ovens says there are solutions and those who have the power to make them happen need to step up. 

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Covid-19: Auckland Back To Alert Level Three After One New Community Case Revealed

Auckland will move to alert level three for a week at 6am tomorrow morning after two new Covid-19 community cases announced this evening could not be directly linked to earlier cases, the Prime Minister has confirmed.
The rest of the country will move to level two.... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Rivals For The Covid Saliva Testing Dollar

If you want a good insight into what the limits of tiny, barely discernible steps to reduce poverty actually look like, delve into the latest Statistics Department figures on poverty in New Zealand Most of the nine measures utilised reveal little or no progress in combatting poverty over the 21 months to March 2020... More>>


Government: Main Benefits To Increase In Line With Wages

All measures of child poverty were trending downwards, prior to the COVID-19 lockdown, across the two years since year ended June 2018, Stats NZ said today. The COVID-19 lockdown in late March 2020 affected Stats NZ’s ability to collect data from households ... More>>

Government: Reserve Bank To Take Account Of Housing In Decision Making

The Reserve Bank is now required to consider the impact on housing when making monetary and financial policy decisions, Grant Robertson announced today. Changes have been made to the Bank’s Monetary Policy Committee’s remit requiring it to take into ... More>>


RNZ: Alert Levels Remain

There are no new community cases of Covid-19 today, the Ministry of Health has confirmed.
Covid-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says at least half of the Papatoetoe High School community have been tested and the results that have come through so far have all been negative... More>>


NZ Initiative: New Report Highlights How Our Housing Crisis Could Worsen If We Don’t Act Now

If New Zealand politicians thought the housing crisis in 2020 was bad, the worst is yet to come, warns a new report by The New Zealand Initiative. In The Need to Build: The demographic drivers of housing demand , Research Assistant Leonard Hong ... More>>

Parliament: Kiwi MPs Among The “Most Educated In The World”

New analysis of MP qualifications reveals New Zealand’s Parliament is one of the most educated and highest qualified in the world, and significantly more educated than Australia’s. The research, by Mark Blackham of BlacklandPR and Geoffrey Miller ... More>>

The Dig: An Illogical Ideological Struggle

Dig beneath all the trade wars and the arguments to the effect that the USA should not permit China to achieve economic and technological superiority, or even parity, and you find the real reason behind the conflict... More>>

Travel: Government Eases Visa Restrictions For Visitors In New Zealand

Visitor visa holders will be able to stay in New Zealand a little longer as the Government eases restrictions for those still here, the Minister of Immigration has announced. More>>




InfoPages News Channels