Alberta Health Services’ (AHS) broken model for midwives in Alberta does not meet current demands and will result in some of the midwife centres having their doors closed, the Wildrose Official Opposition said today (March 21).
The current lapse in funding, as revealed by the AHS funding allocation for the 2016-17 fiscal year, will force midwifery practices that help vulnerable and rural Albertans to shut down after the AHS bureaucracy made some questionable decisions with the allocation of current funding.
“Current demand for midwifery services cannot be met because of an arbitrary cap set by the government and a system that acts as a disincentive for trained midwives to stay in the province,” Wildrose Shadow Health Minister Drew Barnes said.
“I am incredibly disappointed to see a broken model from AHS being the reason that much needed and utilized midwife centres are being closed. Midwifery services improve choice for families and save the health care system money.”
Collectively, midwives in Alberta are currently operating at approximately 75 per cent capacity. With a waitlist of approximately 1,600 women and the ability for midwives to accommodate 1,000 more women than is currently allowed, an expansion of funding is common sense and would allow for all women who have a low-risk pregnancy and who want to have a birth assisted by midwifery services to do so.
“Women who choose midwifery care are found to have an average saving of over $1,000 per course of care while increasing choice for low-risk women,” Wildrose Shadow Status of Women Minister Angela Pitt said.
“The demand is there, AHS should recognize that demand and find efficiencies and use foresight to reconcile this problem.”