Health Minister David Clark has congratulated the midwives’ unions, DHBs, and the Ministry of Health for agreeing a joint accord to help ensure safe and sustainable staffing levels in our public hospitals.
Agreement of the accord follows DHB midwives’ vote to accept a new Multi-Employer Collective Agreement on Friday.
“The Government is committed to making sure that staffing levels for midwives employed by DHBs are safe for mothers, their babies and for midwives themselves,” David Clark says.
“It is clear that the midwifery workforce is under pressure nationally and is facing widespread workforce challenges.
“The DHBs and Ministry of Health have heard the message from DHB midwives and have worked to have the management of safe workloads for midwives underpin the work they do,” David Clark says.
Under the terms of the accord, all four parties including both unions – MERAS and NZNO will;
• Explore options to support and encourage new midwifery graduates to choose DHB employment,
• Develop a strategy for retention of the existing midwifery workforce, and workforce development,
• Develop a strategy to better support midwives in training, with a particular focus on Māori and Pacific midwives,
• Agree to progress the implementation of the safe staffing tool ‘Care Capacity Demand Management’ (CCDM) in maternity services.
“There has been a lot of work by DHBs, unions and midwives on progressing guidance for care, capacity and demand management (CCDM) and cooperating on using additional funding the Government provided in mid-2018 to employ additional midwives and nurses to address immediate workforce needs.
“Issues of safe staffing and workloads have developed over many years and everyone acknowledges they will take time to fix.
“Most people working in health accept that these issues couldn’t be fixed immediately. This Accord establishes a forum to deal with these issues on an ongoing basis,” David Clark said.
David Clark will host the signing of the accord tomorrow. The accord will be signed by Acting Director-General of Health Keriana Brooking, Bay of Plenty DHB Chief Executive Helen Mason, MERAS Co-Leader (Midwifery) Caroline Conroy, and NZNO Associate Professional Services Manager Hilary Graham-Smith.
Midwife representative unions:
MERAS: Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Services
NZNO: NZ Nurses Organisation