Budget response: Midwives quit

This budget is going down as one of the most unpopular in living memory. Almost no one is happy.

Now the midwives are quitting in anger. The NZ Herald reports: Quote:

Midwives across the country say they are “devastated” with yesterday’s Budget announcement and are calling it quits.

Health Minister David Clark delivered a 8.9 per cent “catch-up” increase to community-based midwives fees, costing $4.5 million this financial year.

But midwives say it’s not enough.  

Waikato community midwife and former organiser of the Dear David campaign Anna Ramsay said yesterday’s budget announcement was the last straw. After 12 years of struggle, she’s leaving the profession.

“Disappointed, devastated and angry,” she said of the budget.

“The pay increase sounds nice on the surface but if you break it down, it doesn’t come close to being able to cope with living costs or addressing any of the problems expressed time after time.”

“I’m sick of being paid less than I could earn working at a supermarket,” Ramsay said.

The mother-of-four said she had just worked a 60-hour-week and was on her way to the hospital to support a woman in labour who she will need to be with for the next 12 hours.

“It’s not safe for the pregnant woman or the midwife.”

And she’s not alone. An Auckland community midwife, who would not be named, said she had hit breaking point and was ending her 20-year-career.

“I couldn’t tell you how many tears I have wiped, how many marriages I have saved, how much new life I have had pass through my hands, how much my heart has broken helping women deliver their precious babies gone before they could get to know them, and how many lives have been saved by timely midwifery decisions and actions.

“But yet I get paid less than a digger driverI can’t do it anymore,” the Auckland midwife said. End quote.

I wonder if Jacinda is using a midwife? She better hope that her midwife accepts David Clark’s weaselly excuses. Quote:

Today, Health Minister Dr David Clark said he acknowledged that some midwives would have liked the Government to go further in this Budget.

“But I think we have struck the right balance and laid the foundations for a sustainable midwifery sector,” Clark said.

He said it was a significant boost and would make a real difference to their incomes.

“There is also $10 million over two years to recognise the costs associated with being self-employed – that will also help midwives’ finances.

“We are also putting $16 million towards ensuring safe hours of work, to assist midwives with the cost of calling in colleagues to take over care during a lengthy labour.”

Clark said he expected conversations between the Ministry of Health and the College to be ongoing.

“But the package of additional support for midwives announced in the Budget addresses a number of issues raised by the College.” End quote.

Clearly, the midwives don’t agree with him.

I am astonished at the silence from the left on this budget. I suspect they are trying to reconcile the pre-election rhetoric with the reality of a National-lite budget.


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.

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