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NEWS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
2012AVED0019-000598

May 4, 2012

Ministry of Advanced Education
Ministry of Health

 

 

Funding helps midwives deliver for B.C. families

 

VANCOUVER – British Columbian families considering the services of a midwife during pregnancy and birth have reason to celebrate as government expands access to midwifery training and services.

 

Starting in 2012-13, the University of British Columbia’s (UBC) midwifery education program will be expanded from the existing 10 first-year spaces to 20 first-year spaces.

 

The Ministry of Advanced Education worked with UBC and the Ministry of Health to determine the need to double the number of B.C. midwife graduates to help meet the call from families for greater access to services. UBC will receive $1.914 million in one-time funding, and an increase of $833,920 in ongoing operating funding for a phased five-year expansion of the midwifery education program.

 

In addition, government recently reached a two-year service agreement with the Midwives Association of BC (MABC) that builds on government’s Healthy Families BC initiative by expanding access to midwifery care throughout the province.

 

The two-year service agreement reached with the Ministry of Health provides $500,000 in new funding to increase the number of home births in B.C. From this funding, midwives will be able to hire support staff so families can choose to deliver safely in their own homes, which will free up capacity and avoid the higher costs of delivery in the acute care system.

 

Through this service agreement, midwives will also have access to funding to establish and maintain a practice in rural and remote communities that currently do not have access to midwifery care. This will further help government provide access to care that supports healthy pregnancies, healthy babies and ultimately healthy families.

 

 

Quotes:

 

Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of Advanced Education –

 

“Our government knows how important midwives are to expecting families, particularly for pre and postnatal care. That is why we are so proud to increase the number of seats in UBC’s midwifery education program because more midwives graduating means we’re helping meet the needs of B.C. families.”

 

Michael de Jong, Minister of Health –

“I am pleased to be able to expand our support of home birth as a safe option for healthy low-risk mothers. I thank the Midwives Association of BC for its work in improving access to primary care and supporting healthy families”.

 

Gavin Stuart, dean, vice provost health, UBC, and dean, faculty of medicine –

 

“The faculty of medicine is grateful that the Province has expanded funding for its midwifery program. The doubling of enrolment and the hiring of additional faculty will enable more women and their families, particularly in B.C.’s under-served communities, to obtain expert care before and during their deliveries, and will allow for research to make midwifery even more effective in the future.”

 

Ganga Jolicoeur, executive director, Midwives Association of BC –

 

“Registered midwives are highly trained, educated and regulated professionals and demand for our client-centred maternity care services is growing dramatically. We welcome this new funding and support from the provincial government as it will provide women and families with greater choice and access to maternity care in both urban and rural communities throughout B.C.”

 

 

Learn More:

 

·         To learn more about the midwifery education program at UBC, visit: www.midwifery.ubc.ca/midwifery

·         To learn more about midwifery in British Columbia, visit:

http://www.bcmidwives.com/

 

 

A backgrounder follows.

 

 

Media Contacts:

 

Joanne Whittier

Communications Manager

Ministry of Advanced Education

250 952-6400

 

Ryan Jabs

Media Relations Manager

Ministry of Health

250 952-1887 (media line)

 

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect


BACKGROUNDER

For Immediate Release
2012AVED0019-000598

May 4, 2012

Ministry of Advanced Education
Ministry of Health

 

 

 

Province expands midwifery in B.C.

 

·         Since the midwifery program began at UBC in 2002, it has had over 100 applicants each year for its 10 first-year spaces.

·         As of March 2011, 203 midwives are registered with the College of Midwifes of British Columbia – 167 practising and 36 non-practising.

·         Midwives manage approximately 6,300 births per year in B.C., and from 2008 to 2010 the number of births managed by midwives increased by 34 per cent.

·         Registered Midwives in B.C. offer primary maternity care to healthy pregnant women and their newborn babies from early pregnancy, through labour and birth, until about six weeks postpartum. Midwifery services are available in every region of the province, from Haida Gwaii to Cranbrook.

·         The two year service agreement reached with MABC falls in line with the government’s broader fiscal goals. The agreement does not include any increase to fees.   Rather the agreement recognizes that the current fee system needed adjustments to better support the practice of midwifery in B.C. The agreement also includes $500,000 in new funding to expand home births in B.C.

·         Specific highlights of the service agreement include:

o   $500,000 in new funding to increase the number of home births in B.C. Specifically these funds will be used to support a second attendant at all home births, which is a legal requirement but was not previously funded, and provide the necessary home birth supplies and medications.

o   $50,000 in one-time funding to continue a midwife emergency skills program.

o   $150,000 in reallocated fees to develop a rural locum program pilot which would establish a pool of locums available for short term coverage.

o   $65,000 in reallocated fees to support midwives in establishing a practice in rural communities currently without access to midwifery care.

o   In addition the agreement establishes a joint liaison committee to address issues such as access to care, benefits, and interdisciplinary care.

·         Midwives are self employed and government’s contractual relationship with them is different than with unionized employees who are covered under the Public Sector Employers Act.

·         Like osteopaths, doctors, and providers of optometric and medically required dental services in private practices, midwives pay for overhead costs such as maintaining an office, birthing supplies and training.  

·         The Ministry of Health has historically treated negotiations with these groups in a manner that is consistent with the government’s financial goals.

·         The B.C. Medical Services Plan funds the cost of midwifery care for all B.C. residents with a valid CareCard.

·         In 2010, midwives billed approximately $19.3 million for clinical services.

 

 

Contact:

 

Ryan Jabs

Media Relations Manager

Ministry of Health

250 952-1887 (media line)

 

Connect with the Province of B.C. at: www.gov.bc.ca/connect