B.C. midwives start job action
Midwives say more funding is needed to ensure the delivery of babies is done safely. (REUTERS)
An association representing midwives in B.C. has pulled its clinical education services for practicum students as part of job action to demand better funding.
Ganga Jolicoeur, executive director at the Midwives Association of B.C., said on Wednesday her group wants $3 million in annual funding from the province to address inadequate work conditions.
The job action would affect the University of B.C.’s midwifery program — the only program of its kind in the province — where students shadow working midwives in a practicum as part of their course.
The association has also issued as 90-day notice to the province to terminate its current agreement.
As it stands, Jolicoeur said, some midwives haven’t taken a break from being on-call 24/7 for two years. The only solution that appears to have worked costs money.
She said there was a pilot project in 2012 in which substitute midwives were flown in when midwives in rural communities needed to go on break.
The Ministry of Health, however, only paid for the work time and not accommodation and travel — which could be up to $800 for a round-trip plane ticket, she said.
And now, Jolicoeur said, the ministry has rejected the association’s proposal to make that project permanent, along with other improvements such as wage increases.
She said midwives in 2012 and 2013 delivered nearly one-in-five births in B.C.
“An investment today and over the next five years will produce $60 million in savings,” Jolicoeur argued.
“By 2020, another $20 million (in savings) thereafter on an annual basis.”