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Slight increase in qualified midwives in the workforce

Slight increase in qualified midwives in the workforce

New data released today from the Midwifery Council shows a small increase in the number of qualified midwives working in New Zealand - from 2,938 in 2013 to 2,971 today. By the end of this practising year, the number is expected to be around 3,100.

“This confirms to us that there has been a sustained and steady period of grow over the last eight years which is pleasing. Prior to that New Zealand had a serious workforce shortage problem in midwifery,” says Sue Calvert, Advisor to the Midwifery Council.

The Midwifery Council is the regulatory body set up to protect the public by overseeing the practice of midwives and by making sure they are competent and fit to practice at all stages in their careers.

The Council produces an annual Midwifery Workforce Survey.

“Having robust data helps the Government and the Council develop better workforce strategies. It tells us who is entering the profession, how long they’re staying, why they leave, and what extra qualifications they have,” says Ms Calvert.

The Council has worked with the colleges and schools of midwifery to increase controls and monitoring requirements around the granting of practising certificates.

“Knowing that there are controls in place to make sure a qualification is the best that it can be, reassures a new midwife that she will be safe and ready for the real world. That’s one reason there’s been a significant drop since 2008 in the number of midwives leaving the profession each year.”

The data shows that the midwifery workforce continues to engage in learning and development as a constant number of midwives (about 110 per year) are completing formal postgraduate qualifications. This is in addition to the recertification requirements for continuing competence placed on all midwives by the Council.

The average age of midwives is significantly higher than the average age in the general workforce. This could put pressure on the workforce in the future as midwives age and leave the profession, although midwifery schools are reporting an increasing number of young students joining their programmes of education.

41.9% of the workforce works part time, mostly because of family responsibilities, which is a reflection of the gender make up of midwifery (there are only six male midwives).

The Midwifery Council surveys practicing and recently practicing midwives online. The survey is completed as part of the annual practising certificate renewal process. It asks midwives to provide some information about themselves and their practice as a midwife.

For a copy of the full survey go to the website


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