Expectant Nelson mother, Kim Meyer, with the letter she received from the NMDHB stating that they will be disestablishing the jobs of three of its senior midwives at the end of this month. Photo: Kate Russell.

Midwife cuts upset expecting mum

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An expectant Nelson mother is speaking out against a decision by the district health board to disestablish the jobs of three of its senior midwives.

Kim Meyer is due with her first child this weekend and is under the care of one of these midwives, who she regards as “amazing”.

She received a letter from the Nelson Marlborough District Health Board last week, which states that as part of a recent midwifery service review, the case loading midwives team will be disestablished from 30 September, 2016.

Kim says that although these midwives will continue to be employed by the hospital as part of the core midwifery team, it will be a huge blow to many Nelson mothers, as well for the midwives themselves.

Kim, who as a family lawyer has seen various at-risk clients use and benefit from the service, says the effect it will have on expectant mums is “huge”.

“A lot of the women who go through the hospital team are high risk in some way, whether it be due to pregnancy complications or social factors, such as mental health, addiction, domestic violence, or age – so for already very busy, private midwives who can also pick and choose clients, it puts these high risk women in a difficult position,” she says.

“On average, each of these three midwives takes on five to six clients each month – that is a minimum of 120 women per year who will be left to find private midwives.”

Kim says she is aware from friends that it is already difficult to find a midwife in Nelson at times, with people often not being able to get the first, second, or sometimes even third choices of private midwife

“Losing three more midwives is going to make this even worse,” she says.

A spokesperson from the NMDHB says they will continue to support all women to have access to lead maternity care from a midwife.

“Another priority for us is to work to ensure that women and families with high or complex needs can access the multidisciplinary supports that they may require,” they stated.

“We have assured all of our midwives that we are committed to continue to support them within our midwifery workforce and that all of their skills and experience are highly valued.”