May 5th, 2022

More midwives would ease pressure on physicians and hospitals

Halifax- The Houston government’s new plan to fix health care lacks any mention of midwives or physician assistants, professions that could help ease the pressure on primary care and emergency care. May 5 is the International Day of the Midwife.

“It’s deeply disappointing that there is no commitment on expanding midwives’ or physician assistants’ ability to practice in Nova Scotia in the government’s plan. Many people who live here want to work to their full scope of practice, and many others who have had to move away would come home if they could do the work they are trained to do,” said Susan Leblanc, NDP Health and Wellness spokesperson. “More midwives could mean better care and reduced pressure on doctors and hospitals.”

The most common reason for hospitalization in Nova Scotia is giving birth. The most common inpatient surgery is C-sections. Reducing the demands on physicians and hospitals by expanding access to midwifery could have a significant positive impact on health care in Nova Scotia.

“Why wasn’t this simple solution part of the government’s plan to fix health care? Expanding access to midwifery could reduce hospitalizations and the need for some emergency surgeries related to giving birth, which would have a positive impact on wait times,” said Leblanc. “The evidence is very clear and it’s been clear for some time. What’s missing is action from the Houston government.”

In the spring sitting the NDP introduced legislation to expand midwifery services to the entire province. Research shows that midwifery care results in better outcomes for parents and babies with significantly fewer medical interventions. There are currently no midwifery services offered at the Cape Breton Regional Hospital, which has the province’s highest rates for C-sections for low-risk pregnancies, or in the Annapolis Valley, the Southwest, and other areas.