Mid­wife cri­sis hit­ting hos­pi­tals


A mid­wife says she is turn­ing away tear­ful, preg­nant women as the staffing cri­sis hits Auck­land.

Mid­wife Paddy Hughes said she had turned away more preg­nant women than she had ac­cepted in re­cent months be­cause her books were full.

Some of those women are in tears be­cause they can’t find a mid­wife, she said.

‘‘I stopped count­ing at the 40 peo­ple I turned down last year.’’

A na­tion­wide mid­wife short­age is squeez­ing Auck­land, with 30 mid­wife va­can­cies across the city’s ma­ter­nity wards.

North Shore Hos­pi­tal was lack­ing 11 full­time mid­wives while Waita¯ kere Hos­pi­tal was down 7, ac­cord­ing to data re­leased un­der the Of­fi­cial In­for­ma­tion Act.

Auck­land Dis­trict Health Board had 12.4 va­can­cies.

The New Zealand Col­lege of Mid­wives has warned of an ‘‘un­fold­ing cri­sis in New Zealand’s mid­wifery work­force’’.

‘‘We are hear­ing an in­creas­ing num­ber of sto­ries from around the coun­try of se­vere short­ages as mid­wives con­tinue to leave the pro­fes­sion,’’ chief ex­ec­u­tive Karen Guilliland said.

Ra¯nui res­i­dent Jen­nifer, 25, had her first child in Jan­uary at Waita¯ kere Hos­pi­tal.

On her sec­ond day in hos­pi­tal, Jen­nifer, whose sur­name we have cho­sen not to print, said she called a mid­wife to ask if she could bathe her daugh­ter.

The mid­wife de­liv­ered the bath to her but said they were too busy to help, she said.

Jen­nifer said she was ‘‘frus­trated’’ the mid­wife didn’t have the time for her.

The mid­wife who looked af­ter Jen­nifer on her first night was help­ful, she said. But when the mid­wife changed the next day, so did the help .

A Waitem­ata¯ DHB spokesper­son said teach­ing and sup­port­ing par­ent­ing ac­tiv­i­ties were some­times de­layed to fo­cus on the im­me­di­ate well­be­ing of oth­ers.

Waitem­ata¯ DHB di­rec­tor of hos­pi­tal ser­vices Cath Cronin said a strat­egy was in place to min­imise the im­pact of cur­rent va­can­cies to en­sure women were well-sup­ported.

Auck­land DHB chief ex­ec­u­tive Ailsa Claire said bu­reau mid­wives and nurses filled gaps in their ros­ters.

An OIA to Coun­ties Manukau DHB showed there was no ‘‘true’’ va­can­cies for its ma­ter­nity ward.

Have you re­cently given birth at Waita¯ kere Hos­pi­tal? How did you find it? Write to edwl@snl.co.nz.


Jen­nifer says some Waita¯kere Hos­pi­tal mid­wives were more help­ful than oth­ers.

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