Midwives under pressure due to overwork and lack of support amid Covid-19 crisis

Midwives say they are nearing breaking point as they deal with an increased workload, an increase in home births, lack of PPE and no targeted support from the Government.

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It comes as their workload has increased with extra homebirths during lockdown. Source: 1 NEWS

Many midwives are also saying they are now buying goods for new mothers with money out of their own pocket.

Midwife, Violet Clapham is used to going the extra mile, but now with mothers unable to leave their bubble, it’s not just babies she is helping deliver.

“I went to the local shop and purchased what that woman needed, in terms of feeding equipment and took that to her home and showed her how to use it and of course all of that takes extra time and resource to make sure that mum and baby are doing ok,” says Ms Clapham.

The workload too is mounting, more mothers are choosing home births to steer clear of hospitals and fewer labs mean midwives are now taking blood tests in clients homes and transporting them to labs.

Chief executive of the Royal College of Midwives, Alison Eddy says new mums are needing extra psychological support.

“We can all survive on adrenaline for a while, but then the edges start to fray,” she says.

She says PPE is not reaching many community midwives and social distancing from their clients is not an option.

“Labour and birth is a very dynamic process. It's practically impossible to not have some risk of exposure to body fluids and droplets, so we would see that midwifery would be a priority workforce.

“Community midwives feel like they're right at the bottom of the list in terms of access,” Ms Eddy says.

The Director General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield is looking at how to help midwives.

“If some of the activities they are doing are ones they wouldn't normally do, like the shopping.

"We'll make sure there are other options for them so that the women they're looking after are getting all the care and support they need,” Dr Bloomfield says.

A report last month showed midwives were already underpaid. A situation which is now much worse.

With GPs set for a multi-million dollar Government package due to their lack of patients, the question now is what support will go to other services now overworked.