FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Victoria, B.C. – The Midwives Association of British Columbia (MABC) today was at the B.C. Legislature, calling on the provincial government to increase funding and investment in midwifery services to increase access to maternity care and support better health outcomes for newborns and parents throughout B.C.
“More provincial funding and investment in midwifery services is needed to improve access to pregnancy and birth services, and deliver better health outcomes for newborns and families,” said Ganga Jolicoeur, CEO of the MABC. “Many British Columbians still don’t have reasonable access to maternity care where and when they need it.”
The number of obstetricians and family physicians practicing obstetrics has been declining over the past decade, leading to a maternity care gap. This gap will only grow as the number of births in the province is expected to reach over 50,000 by 2025, making it ever more important to increase the number of midwives and support their continued integration into health authorities and the Province’s new primary care networks.
“As primary care providers, registered midwives play an integral role in our maternity care system and have made significant improvements to the quality and accessibility of pregnancy and birth services in recent years,” said Jolicoeur. “Greater investment means midwives can continue to enable British Columbians to birth their babies closer to home with a high level of personalized care, client satisfaction and positive health outcomes.”
With modest provincial funding in 2012 and 2014, the number of registered midwives practicing in rural communities has more than doubled, from 68 to 139, resulting in a number of new midwifery practices opening across B.C. However, with growing demand and waitlists at many practices midwives are stretched thin and need more resources to keep pace.
“Midwifery is client centered and well aligned with the objectives of the B.C. government’s new primary healthcare strategy,” said Jolicoeur. “A significant body of research demonstrates that midwives improve health outcomes while also reducing healthcare spending through efficient and cost-effective use of resources.”
Today, more than 280 registered midwives are involved in the births of 10,227 babies, or 23% of all births in B.C. Research conducted for the MABC by Perrin Thorau and Associates estimates that the increasing number of midwife-assisted births since 2011 has freed up approximately $145 million in savings for other healthcare priorities.
The MABC is scheduled to begin contract negotiations with the Province in early 2019. Visit www.supportBCmidwives.ca to learn why you should care about midwifery and send a message to government leaders in support of B.C.’s midwives.
“Our focus is on the best health outcomes for our patients. When it comes to maternity care, midwives deliver quality, expert pregnancy and birth services that support top health outcomes for parents and babies. Midwives also increase access to maternity care, which is increasingly important for rural and Indigenous communities across our province. While I am now a clinical professor of obstetrics-gynecology, I am also an advocate for midwifery as an integral part of our healthcare system.”
- Jan Christilaw, Clinical Professor, Obstetrics-Gynecology, UBC Clinical Professor & Past President of the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC)
“Many women who want and need a midwife cannot get one. Increasing the number of midwives, expanding their scope of practice, and developing new funding models that will encourage collaboration with family physicians and other healthcare providers will help close the maternity care gap and lead to better health outcomes for newborns, moms and families.”
- Michael C. Klein, CM, MD, CCFP,FAAP (Neonatal-Perinatal), FCFP,ABFP,FCPS
"Midwives and the midwifery model of care has pushed the entire medical system to focus on normalizing birth, supporting informed consent and respecting patients' decisions. I am grateful to be practicing in an era when midwives and physicians can collaborate and learn from one another to provide the best possible care for our patients and families."
- Dr. Sara Sandwith, Family Physician, Comox Valley
About the Midwives Association of British Columbia (MABC)
The MABC educates the public about midwifery care while supporting the growing number of midwives across the province. Registered midwives are funded under B.C.’s healthcare system in BC and are experts in low-risk, low-intervention birth. With extensive training that focuses on pregnancy, birth and postpartum for both client and baby, midwives are a safe and recognized choice for pregnancy and birth care in B.C., across Canada and around the world.
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