Statement from Caroline Conroy, Co-leader, MERAS
Whereas we acknowledge recruiting midwives from overseas will assist in alleviating the immediate shortage we are facing, there is a world-wide shortage of midwives because of a lack of support and investment of this critical health profession. Aotearoa New Zealand is no different and things must change.
New Zealand has to ensure that incoming midwives have a positive experience if we are to retain them. We know retention is already a significant issue here amongst our own New Zealand trained midwives so whilst we might be able to recruit some midwives from overseas, keeping them is key.
In fact, MERAS is aware that for several overseas midwives, the experience they have had already, has not been positive, and some regret moving here. That must stop happening.
Investment in growing our own midwives will be the best way to ensure that in the longer term the midwifery profession better reflects the communities of New Zealand, particularly with increased numbers of Māori and Pasifika midwives.