Understanding workforce issues

The Midwifery Council is closely monitoring the recent media coverage regarding midwifery.

Chair of the Midwifery Council, Christina Mallon, says: “Our first priority is always the safety of mothers and babies as the Council is the regulatory body set up to protect the public by making sure midwives are competent and fit to practise. We believe the best way to ensure this is for midwives to be well educated, well supported and safe in their workplaces wherever they may be.”

Ms Mallon says that reports of midwives being overworked are concerning as ongoing stress can affect a midwife’s health and therefore compromise their ability to be effective.

CEO/Registrar of the Midwifery Council, Sharron Cole, explains that, as a Regulatory Authority the Midwifery Council is not responsible for the pay and work conditions of midwives. The College of Midwives – the professional organisation – is in discussion with the Ministry of Health to ensure improved access to safe, integrated, high quality services that meet the needs of mothers and babies. They are looking at options that will work better for midwives by addressing hours of work, income, support and workload.

 “The Council is already working closely with Health Workforce New Zealand, District Health Board Maternity Leaders and the schools of midwifery to fully understand the extent of any shortages and to work on solutions to ensure that there is an adequate supply of midwives in New Zealand both now and in the future,” says Ms Cole.

Ms Mallon says that the Council is always keen to look at ways to strengthen the midwifery workforce and to ensure that women and their babies receive the level of care that the need and deserve.