Maternity units in Wellington region short 1/4 of their workforce

Jill Ovens Industrial co-leader MERAS

Midwives at Wellington hospitals are sometimes too busy to take breaks and new mothers have been rushed out and transferred elsewhere within a day of giving birth, as the region’s maternity units grapple with a chronic shortage of both staff and beds.

Hutt Hospital’s maternity service is short 15 out of 50 full-time equivalent staff, while Kenepuru Community Hospital, Kāpiti Health Centre and Wellington Regional Hospital have a total of 18 full-time equivalent maternity vacancies across their team of 77. That means Wellington hospitals are down a quarter of their maternity workforce.

MERAS co-leader industrial Jill Ovens told Stuff that short staffing increased the stress on remaining midwives “exponentially”.

“Midwives have always put women and their babies ahead of their own wellbeing. One of the biggest issues… is not being able to take a break and not being able to go to the toilet. This is because they are supposed to be providing one-to-one care for women in labour and there is no one available to relieve them.”

Ovens said midwives at Hutt and Wellington hospitals were fielding “constant” texts asking them to come in and fill roster gaps at the last minute.

SOURCE: Stuff, 18 July 2021Read the full article here