National | Dr Ayesha Verrall

New coach support to bolster midwives

Associate health minister Dr Ayesha Verrall has increased support for midwives with a new clinical coaching programme.

“New Zealand’s midwives are committed to the wellbeing of women and whānau but they’re facing significant challenges,” Verrall said. "The district health board (DHB) midwifery workforce has been shrinking, while demand for their services and expertise is increasing

“To support them, clinical coaches will stand shoulder to shoulder with midwives on the maternity wards, as they care for the health and medical needs of pregnant and birthing women.

“New graduate midwives, those coming back into the workforce, and other midwives who need some extra help, will have access to a coach - an experienced DHB midwife who can provide both clinical and wider support.”

Over the next three years, $5 million has been committed to supporting the initiative. The funding will be used to keep at least one clinical coach to be available at each DHB.

New career path

DHBs with multiple hospitals, higher birth rates, and/or tertiary levels of care, may receive extra coaching support.

“By providing practical support and further career options, the development of a formal clinical coach role will create a new career pathway for existing midwives, and encourage midwives who have been out of clinical practice to consider a return to midwifery,” Verrall said.

Midwives who want to work again are required to complete the Return to Practice Programme to ensure they have the latest training and certifications. Clinical coaches will help them to re-join the workforce.

“I know the cost of the Return to Practice Programme has been a barrier for some people," Verrall said. "That’s why additional funding of $1600 per midwife is being made available for up to 40 midwives in the first year, and 60 midwives in further years, to encourage them to refresh their practising certificates and return to this rewarding career."