Midwifery students support nationwide marches

May 4, 2018

Midwifery students support nationwide marches

Midwifery students believe the protests are justfied. Photo: Cassidy Makoni

Nine years of underfunded midwifery has resulted in the March with midwives’ protest with midwives demanding equal pay for midwives nation-wide.

An assessment shows rural and remote midwives are earning $7.38 an hour and Lead Maternity Care (LMC) midwives are earning $12.80 an hour - yet they are on a call 24/7.

March attendee, Holly Neilson says midwives pay is unbelievably low, considering New Zealand has one of the best maternity care systems in the world.

Ms. Neilson says her midwife has gone above and beyond for care, especially when she went into labor for six hours earlier this week – doing unpaid work due to Ms. Neilson not having her baby.

“I think people don’t realise how much the cost is to the midwife… clinic fees, travel time, calls outside that don’t turn into a birth and no extra payments for complex care.” She says.

AUT midwifery student, Hannah Young also attended the March and says it is extremely unfair that the income for midwives has not changed in the last ten years - especially since no other employees experience this treatment.

“Midwives are leaving in droves and its putting huge pressures on the hospitals.

If you go in with a woman in labor, you're often there for 16 hours and you're exhausted but there are no staff to hand it over to so you have to stay and you're not getting paid any extra.”

“I love midwifery so much that I feel like the pay is going to become one of the downfalls of the job but my passion drives me, not the money.”

Ms. Young says she does not want to leave the profession because she is so passionate, but she questions it’s sustainability.

Health Minister David Clark says there will be package as part of the budget later this month that will address these issues.

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