Midwives march with petition for better funding

The AM Show 03/05/2018

Midwives will march through Wellington today to deliver a 12,000 signature petition to Parliament.

The protest calls for Minister of Health David Clark to support urgent sustainable funding for midwifery, with the profession struggling to meet demand as many leave their jobs to find better pay elsewhere.

College of Midwives spokeswoman Andrea Sarty says the framework is already there for a funding boost.

"There's a sustainable finding model sitting there ready to go," Ms Sarty told Newshub.

"All the Government needs to do is commit to it. That will stop midwives from leaving the profession which they're doing in droves at the moment."

Ms Sarty says some regions are barely able to support expectant mothers.

"For example, in the Waikato they've lost about 30 or more midwives in the last six months.

"It's really hard for women to actually find someone to care for them. Having that continuity of care… it makes a huge difference."

Ms Sarty says the average take home hourly income for rural midwives is just $7.23 for rural midwives and $12.80 for urban midwives.

After gathering at Civic Square at 11am on Thursday, supporters dressed in costumes will march down Lambton Quay to Parliament to deliver the petition to Minister for Health David Clark.

Lead Maternity Carer midwife and protest organiser Charlie Ferris spoke told The AM Show that they’ve reached “crisis point”.

Low pay, difficult working conditions and long hours were all cited by Ms Ferris as reasons behind the protest.

“It’s a very tricky environment to be a midwife at the moment,” she said.

Today is International Midwives' Day.

Watch the full interview with Charlie Ferris above.

The AM Show with Duncan Garner, Amanda Gillies and Mark Richardson, weekdays 6-9am on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.

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