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For Midwives

Midwifery in our province is at a tipping point. We need to engage leaders in the legislature and the public service to ensure they are aware of the challenges midwives are facing and what they can do to help.

While the results of the election won’t be official until all ballots are counted and it will be several weeks before the new cabinet is sworn in, you can continue to email or call representatives from all three political parties as well as key public servants (we’ve included websites and contact information to help get you started). Your experience as clinicians matters, and your stories from the front lines can make a difference. Let’s make midwifery a critical issue for the new government and work together to build awareness around midwifery needs in B.C.

We invite you to speak from your heart. You can also work with the talking points below, either by copying them into an email or using them as prompts for a phone conversation.

Talking Points:

It’s time for the government to support B.C. midwives so we can continue to support B.C. families.

Public demand for midwives continues to grow. In B.C., we have reached an all-time high in parents seeking midwifery care during pregnancy, birth and postpartum. And that demand has only increased during COVID.

Midwives are currently involved in almost one quarter of pregnancies in the province. But we are the second lowest paid in the profession across the country. Registered midwives and family physicians provide the same primary maternity care, and yet we are excluded from provincial benefits such as health and disability, pension and parental leave. That’s on top of low pay and having to cover costs for medical supplies and office overhead out of our own pockets. This has now been made worse by the pandemic as we have received no assistance to offset costs associated with increased sanitation and physical distancing requirements, including the necessary move to virtual care.

B.C. midwives have been taken for granted and left behind. If the fundamental inequities remain unaddressed, one in three B.C. midwives say they will be forced to leave the profession or change careers. We’re in this situation because successive B.C. governments have failed to invest in midwifery.
B.C.’s next government has the opportunity to address the inequities in our healthcare system and ensure the long-term availability of midwifery services for all British Columbians.

As a midwife, I call on newly elected leaders and leaders in the public service to:

  • ensure B.C. families continue to receive high-quality primary maternity care by investing in benefits and business supports for midwives;
  • support equity in maternity care—equal pay and benefits for midwives—and ensure that midwifery is there for B.C. families;
  • and, support Indigenous midwives and improve access to birth and maternity services in Indigenous communities.

The solutions to the current crisis of burnout and attrition among B.C. midwives are clear. Government must invest in benefits and business supports as an urgent first step, and commit to long-term sustainability by bringing compensation in line with other primary care providers.

Who to write and call:

Ask for a virtual meeting with your MLA as soon as the next government is confirmed (expected on November 16, 2020). At that time, you can find your MLA here.

Please also write to public servants. Government employees and officials are responsible for developing policy and implementing provincial direction. Some key contacts in the Ministry of Health include:

  • David Byres (Assistant Deputy Minister) 
  • Ted Patterson (Assistant Deputy Minister) Patterson@gov.bc.ca
  • Mark Armitage (Assistant Deputy Minister) Armitage@gov.bc.ca
  • Natasha Prodan-Bhalla (Chief Nurse and Professional Practice Officer, Nursing Policy Secretariat) Prodan-Bhalla@gov.bc.ca
  • Glenys Webster (Director, Women’s, Maternal and Early Childhood Health) 

We know you are already burdened by busy practices and professional and personal demands, but we are grateful for any time you can spend reaching out to the government on behalf of all midwives.

Sincerely,
Alisa Harrison
CEO, MABC

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