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Reimbursement announced for midwives

Rory, two, watches as midwife Megan Hurst measures the head of his new sister Kora resting on mum Ruth. Supplied photo.

The New Zealand College of Midwives is pleased that the Government has today announced funds for community-based midwives, to assist with COVID-19 related costs. 

A one-off payment of $2500 will be made to all self-employed Lead Maternity Carers and there will be an increase in locum funding (rural and urban). 

The payment is part of a new almost $100 million COVID-19 support package for health services across the country.

College chief executive Alison Eddy says as well as paying for additional costs out of their own pockets, some community-based midwives are continuing to incur costs related to the significant amount of extra work they undertook for women and families over COVID-19 lockdown period. 

“The increase in workload at a time when they have their own families and well-being to also manage, has been challenging and exhausting.

“Midwives did not miss a beat. We saw the same thing in Canterbury after the earthquakes; they are health professionals and they just get on with it. But they need to be able to have a break and the locum funding will help enable that.”

Alison and the Minister responsible for Maternity, Julie Anne Genter, met on Thursday, June 11, to discuss the funding and the challenges midwives continue to face.

“The funding will offer some relief for midwives, and we thank the Minister for her work on this. I did make our concerns clear though, that we have still not had confirmation of any details regarding this year’s budget for maternity, and midwifery particularly,” says Alison.

Alison Eddy May. Supplied photo.

“As the NZEIR report completed in March this year identified, Midwives are under resourced and undertake as much as 26 per cent of their work for no pay.

“The College is still working under the terms of a mediation agreement with the Ministry of Health for a new funding model for community-based midwives, and increasingly it is clear that the July 2020 deadline in this agreement will not be met." 

Alison says the pandemic has demonstrated the importance of our community-based midwifery-led model of care, in maintaining maternity services for women and babies.   

“As primary health professionals, our scope of practice, networks and expertise meant that during a challenging time, ongoing care for women could be maintained and effective. We must ensure the future sustainability of the midwifery-led maternity service for the sake of women and babies around Aotearoa.”

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