B.C.’s midwives are calling for a major expansion of their services, saying it will save the province tens of millions of dollars in health care costs.
The Midwives Association of British Columbia said Thursday in a news release that by ensuring registered midwives attend 35 per cent of the births in the province by 2020 and fully integrating midwifery services, the province could realize net cost savings of about $60 million.
“There is an urgent need to increase midwifery services and ensure they are fully integrated into the health care system to make it easier for women and families to access quality maternity care in their home,” Ganga Jolicoeur, the executive director of MABC, said in the release:
Jolicoeur’s statement was echoed in the release by Dr. Michael Klein, Professor Emeritus of Family Practice and Pediatrics at the University of B.C.
“The MABC’s vision document is timely and needed, particularly when factoring in that the average age of an obstetrician is almost 58, fewer and fewer family physicians are incorporating maternity care into their practices, and we’re not training enough midwives,” Klein said.
Kelly Hayes, a registered midwife and vice-president of the MABC, said in the release: “We believe British Columbians will support our vision because of the real health benefits and net cost savings, estimated at $60 million by 2020 and $20 million annually after that. These savings could be used for other priorities in the health care system.”
The MABC’s recommendations include registered midwives working with the provincial government, regional health authorities, hospitals, other maternity care providers and the First Nations Health Authority to better serve women and families in rural, northern and First Nations communities.
The recommendations also include increasing the number of midwives by 16 each year. There are 192 midwives registered in B.C.
The MABC says its recommendations would require an investment starting in 2014/15 of approximately $3 million annually or $225 per birth per year, based on the projected annual number of births per year.
Midwifery by the numbers in B.C.: