NZNO welcomes Midwifery Workforce Accord
The New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) welcomes the new Midwifery Workforce Accord between the Ministry of Health, the district health boards (DHBs), NZNO and the midwives’ union MERAS. The Accord will be signed by all parties this afternoon at Parliament at a launch by Health Minister David Clark.
The Midwifery Workforce Accord complements a similar Safe Staffing and Care Capacity Demand Management: Effective Implementation Accord signed between the Ministry of Health, DHBs and NZNO last year. NZNO Associate Professional Services Manager Hilary Graham-Smith, who represented NZNO in negotiating the Midwifery Workforce Accord and will sign it today on NZNO’s behalf, said it will further help ensure safe and sustainable staffing levels in our public hospitals.
"Just like the nursing workforce, the midwifery workforce has been under pressure and faced widespread challenges. Now these issues can begin being addressed and that’s a wonderful result, not just for midwives, but also for mothers and their babies. And that means for everyone."
However, Ms Graham-Smith said that workforce and safe staffing issues have been worsening for both nurses and midwives for many years, and that no one should have any illusions that these problems will be solved overnight.
"The Safe Staffing and Care Capacity Demand Management: Effective Implementation Accord was signed on 31 July last year and, while there has been solid commitment from all parties and much work done since then, we are only beginning to see extra nurses being employed right now and strategy development to solve nursing problems remains ongoing. But with these Accords we at least have a clear path forward."
Ms Graham-Smith said NZNO is pleased to have been part of negotiating the Midwifery Workforce Accord.
"We also acknowledge and thank the Minister and Ministry of Health, the midwives and the DHBs for their commitment. We look forward to exploring options together and developing the strategies and accountability mechanisms that will be required."