Mid­wives march­ing for more

Central Otago Mirror - - FRONT PAGE -

DEB­BIE JAMIESON AND MAR­JORIE COOK

Mid­wives and sup­port­ers marched in Queen­stown and Wanaka last week, calling for bet­ter pay.

Queen­stown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult told a crowd of about 100 peo­ple in Queen­stown that the health ser­vice in the area was ‘‘stuffed’’.

‘‘We need bet­ter health ser­vices gen­er­ally. We need bet­ter pay for mid­wives. We need a bet­ter hospi­tal in our district. They’re not lis­ten­ing to us at present.’’

He had been work­ing to get a meet­ing with Health Min­is­ter David Clark and had se­cured a date in June.

Queen­stown mid­wife Sharon White led the march with chants of ‘‘One, Two, Three Four, We don’t want to be so poor’’ and ‘‘What do we want? Bet­ter pay. When do we want it? Now.’’

She said mid­wives worked 24 hours a day, seven days a week with­out ad­di­tional pay.

‘‘For the mid­wife this means she leaves her fam­ily or home pos­si­bly for hours. There will be no morn­ing school run for this mid­wife’s chil­dren this day.’’

Sev­eral hun­dred par­ents pushed prams and car­ried ba­bies from the Wanaka Skate Park to the Di­nosaur play­ground to show their sol­i­dar­ity for ru­ral mid­wives.

The march was or­gan­ised by first year Wanaka mid­wifery stu­dents Emily San­chos and Elise Burke­vics, to sup­port the Dear David cam­paign and pe­ti­tion to par­lia­ment, and to call for pay eq­uity.

‘‘Wanaka is ru­ral so we have lead ma­ter­nity car­ers here and right now we have only one full time mid­wife and we need at least six to cover the 200 births that we will prob­a­bly have in Wanaka this year.

‘‘The new co-de­sign pay­ment struc­ture will change the fund­ing for LMC and ru­ral mid­wives so it is more sus­tain­able.

‘‘LMCs work­ing ru­rally at the mo­ment will earn about $7.23 af­ter ex­penses, are on call 24-7, and there’s no way they can be funded for all the ex­tra things.‘‘

DEB­BIE JAMIESON

Mid­wife Sharon White led 100 pro­tes­tors through Queen­stown.

MAR­JORIE COOK/ STUFF

Wanaka par­ents march in sup­port of mid­wives.

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