Recently the Midwives Association of British Columbia (MABC) has received media attention about actions we have taken in our negotiations with the provincial government as we seek to find a sensible agreement for British Columbia's registered midwives. Based on feedback we have received, we are concerned community members in the Kootenays may have an inaccurate view of the impacts of this action and feel it is important to provide clarity.
What the MABC has done is withdrawn clinical education services for students immediately and issued a 90-day notice to BC's Ministry of Health to terminate our Master Agreement with the province, effective October 7, 2014. This is in accordance with the terms of our agreement.
MABC members are not on strike.
However, if we cannot reach a sensible agreement before October, BC's registered midwives are prepared to take further job action. At this time, what those additional actions will be have not been determined.
We want to be clear, MABC members will not fully withdraw services - assisting with births is an essential service. Women in the care of a midwife today will continue to receive care throughout their pregnancy.
Many women in communities across the Kootenays have difficulty accessing appropriate maternity and newborn care in their home communities. Unfortunately, increasing numbers of women and families must travel, sometimes hundreds of kilometres, to receive it at great personal expense. This puts unnecessary strain on expectant mothers, their families and their communities.
Studies show that investing in midwifery results in cost savings. In BC, a nominal investment today will result in savings of $60 million by 2020 and $20 million annually after that - freeing up dollars for other health care priorities MABC is seeking to improve access to maternity care and are working to urge the Ministry of Health to start delivering for BC's women and families by reaching a sensible deal with our members that will increase access to maternity care, improve health outcomes, and reduce costs.
I encourage community members who share our concern about the lack of availability of midwifery services in their community to add your voice to the conversation and contact your local MLA.