January 24th, 2018

NSHA ignored midwives program, communities call for more support now

Program suspended on South Shore

HALIFAX – An NDP Caucus freedom of information request for all documents related to midwifery at the Nova Scotia Health Authority returned no results during the authority’s first 22 months.

“The Liberals have been asleep at the wheel when it comes to midwifery care,” said Tammy Martin, NDP spokesperson for Health and Wellness. “Now communities have to deal with a crisis that could have been avoided.”

The midwifery program in Nova Scotia started in 2009 and a 2011 report recommended hiring 20 full-time midwives by 2017. Midwifery services are available in Halifax, on the South Shore, and in Antigonish. There are growing concerns that the Antigonish program may also be suspended soon. Families in Cape Breton and the Valley have no access to midwifery care.

“We could feel this coming, the work load for just one person was far too much,” said Whitney Cruikshank, one of the pregnant women impacted by the South Shore program suspension. “Midwifery helps the health care system, the government should have seen the writing on the wall and made sure this program was stable enough to stay afloat.”

The NDP Caucus has launched a petition calling on the McNeil government to ensure that midwifery services are fully supported and expanded. Over 100 people registered their support in the first 24 hours.

"We know our communities are struggling to access primary care. Midwives are a simple solution to help pregnant women and take some of the burden off family doctors, which are in short supply,” said Martin. “The Liberals should respond to this situation immediately and commit to fully supporting midwives in Nova Scotia.”
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