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Advocacy leads to more midwives at three services

Advocacy leads to more midwives at three services

Bendigo midwives celebrate a staffing increase

The ANMF (Vic Branch) has applauded advocacy by midwives at Bendigo Health, Peninsula Health and Ballarat Health Service which has led to all three services agreeing to increase midwifery staffing.

Midwives at the three services raised concerns about clinical risk and have been active in providing data to use as evidence in supporting their concerns. ANMF has worked with the midwives to secure agreements to increase midwifery staffing.

While written agreements had not been formalised at the time of going to print, all three hospitals have agreed to an additional rostered midwife for periods of known demand such as elective caesarean sections in theatre and booked inductions of labour involving artificial rupture of membrances and syntocinon infusion, plus other staff increases.

The agreement to increase midwifery staff for caesarean births for example is an acknowledgement that some procedures are known to entail a higher acuity for both mothers and babies, and therefore a higher workload for midwives, ANMF (Vic Branch) Maternity Services Officer Julianne Barclay said.

‘This is an agreement to resource against clinical risk,’ Ms Barclay said. ‘Midwives have identified they are unable to comply with hospital policies with the present staffing levels, and that is an indicator of clinical risk.’

ANMF (Vic Branch) has also been involved in negotiations around midwifery staffing at hospitals which ANMF is concerned are not applying ratios correctly: Eastern Health, Box Hill, Goulburn Valley Health and Werribee Mercy Hospital.

ANMF (Vic Branch) encourages all midwives to keep reporting clinical risks, both to their hospital’s management and to ANMF, and
to collect data that supports their claims.

‘Since the tragic infant deaths at Djerriwarrh Health Service, Bacchus Marsh, there has been a greater emphasis on midwives escalating their concerns to make sure that hospital management, the ANMF and the Department of Health are aware when clinical risk is occurring,’ Ms Barclay said.

‘ANMF has a proud history of helping midwives escalate their concerns and we are confident that increased midwifery staffing at Bendigo, Peninsula Health and Ballarat will create a safer environment for mothers and babies.’