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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jennifer says some Waita¯kere Hospital midwives were more helpful than others.