The Government of Alberta has announced its plans to increase access to midwifery care throughout the province.
On March 30, Minister of Health Sarah Hoffman reaffirmed the NDP government’s desire to work with health care partners in order to expand options for expectant mothers in Alberta.
“Midwives give expecting mothers an alternative option that is safe, compassionate and effective. This government recognizes the excellent and efficient care that midwives provide. I’m very proud that this government has expanded midwifery care in Alberta,” said Hoffman in a press release.
“Over the coming days, Associate Minister Brandy Payne and myself are meeting with advocacy groups and the Alberta Association of Midwives. We have a lot to talk about, and I know we share a desire to work together.”
This past September, the government increased midwifery funding by $1.8 million, enough to support 400 more courses of midwifery care to raise the total number of births by midwives to 2,774.
According to Associate Minister of Health Minister Brandy Payne, the government is considering a further increase in funding for midwifery care as they prepare for the next budget.
“We’re still working through our budgeting process for the upcoming fiscal year and we’ll be announcing the budget by mid April. We’re still working through the details of what exactly that’s going to look like but we know that there will be some good news in the budget for midwifery and for expectant moms,” said Payne.
“One of the challenges that midwifery faces currently is due to the way funding was set up by the previous government... it separated midwifery from other obstetrical care and so that is definitely one of the things that we’re calling to review.”
The Tree De La Vie Midwife Clinic in Lac La Biche is the only rural clinic northeast of Edmonton, and sees clients from Cold Lake, Bonnyville and even Lloydminster and Fort McMurray.
The midwives also serve Boyle and Athabasca, communities which don’t have any obstetrical care at all.
While the clinic is popular and only opened four month ago, the midwives fear if they don’t get more stable funding, they will have to close.
The government will be working closely with the Alberta Association of Midwives (AAM) and the College of Midwives of Alberta (CMA) to ensure midwifery services are accessible to expectant mothers across Alberta.
“The Alberta Association of Midwives (AAM) is encouraged by Minister Hoffman’s remarks that her government values and is committed to growing midwifery,” said AAM President Nicole Matheson.
“We look forward to meeting with Minister Hoffman and discussing how to meet the strong demand from expecting mothers in a way that supports midwives and most importantly, serves pregnant women and their babies.”
Upon determining the total midwifery funding for the upcoming fiscal year, the government will be looking at various factors to properly allocate the extra courses of care across the province.
“There’s a challenge of determining where those courses of care are allocated. We’ll be working with our partners to ensure we’ve got availability of midwifery services across the province, based on where the need is highest,” said Payne “We’ll be looking at a combination of where people are pregnant but then also at what other obstetrical services are available in each community.”
Cold Lake Sun - Monday, April 4, 2016 12:35:33 MDT PM