Midwives have been repeatedly ignored by this Government and this year’s Budget is no exception, National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse says.
“The previous National Government reached a settlement agreement with the New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM) to develop a new funding model. The current Government has stopped this work in its tracks and midwives are yet to see any progress.
“The Ministry of Health (MOH) web page which provides updates on the work with the maternity sector hasn’t been updated for nearly a year. There are vague references in the budget to a Maternity Action Plan being concluded, but there is no timeline, no commitment and, above all, no money to deliver on the Co-design recommendations that the Minister has had for two and a half years.
“MOH was forced to apologise for breaching the settlement agreement in January last year by not including a budget bid for in Budget 2018. The apology now rings hollow considering midwives have missed out yet again in the Budget.
“What’s worse is that all expectations were that this would be the year midwives would finally be recognised, but NZCOM weren’t told they were missing out until an hour before the Budget was announced.
“It is a massive kick in the teeth to continue ignoring midwives in what is International Year of the Midwife. National has promised in our Health Discussion Document to settle this issue should we form a Government.
“To be overlooked one year is bad enough, and two years in a row is disrespectful. But three years without progress is completely unacceptable and severely risks us losing the midwives who are so important to New Zealand’s workforce. This must be remedied immediately.”