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Midwife shortage closes Calvary Private postnatal ward

Genevieve Jacobs 22 March 2019 77

Calvary Private will no longer offer birthing options for northside women. File photo.

Calvary Private Hospital at Bruce has made the surprise decision to close their postnatal maternity ward on April 28, limiting private birthing options for women on Canberra’s northside. The Hospital says it’s simply unable to find enough midwives to consistently staff the ward.

In a statement, Calvary Private’s General Manager Elaine Bell said the decision had been made “after extensive national and international recruitment efforts failed to attract sufficient suitable candidates to the midwifery team”.

Ms Bell said that Calvary Private had invested significant resources into their post-natal service over the past two years to try and resolve the situation. However, it came down to a structural issue based on the level of services offered, and for that reason was unlikely to change.

“Patient care and safety is our number one priority,” she said, explaining that the Calvary Bruce Private Hospital service was originally established as a postnatal model only. The lack of a birthing centre had hindered the private hospital’s ability to attract and retain midwives because of their preference to gain experience in a facility which offers a full obstetric service.

“Without a long-term and stable midwifery team, the only option was to no longer offer post-natal services. We have contacted all the women booked into the service and have begun discussions around alternative birthing and postnatal care options available to them.”

“Specialists will be able to offer women private birthing and postnatal care at Calvary John James Hospital or Calvary Public Hospital and we can assure them that their continuity of care will not be disrupted,” Ms Bell said.

The Calvary Public maternity ward re-opened in July 2018 after an extensive refurbishment valued at around $2.6 million. The revamp was funded by the ACT government in response to continuing population growth in Gungahlin, West Belconnen and Molonglo.

The decision reflects a growing shortage of midwives across Canberra maternity services, and a movement towards public hospitals following the end of the baby bonus. Anecdotally, some midwives prefer working in a birth centre setting where they are able to provide a full range of services through pregnancy and delivery. Midwifery-led care is more typically available in a public hospital setting, while private patients will choose obstetric-led care.

Anyone who may still have queries about the closure of services is encouraged to contact Calvary Private Hospital on 6245 3100.

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77 Responses to Midwife shortage closes Calvary Private postnatal ward
Carole Briggs Carole Briggs 3:41 pm 22 Mar 19

I think it's a calvery workplace issue more than an ACT trend

Stephanie Butler Stephanie Butler 3:26 pm 22 Mar 19

Kerry Bergan Lucky I didn’t go private!

Fiona Ryan Fiona Ryan 3:19 pm 22 Mar 19

Kirstie Gallagher, hope this doesn’t effect you! 😖

    Kirstie Suthern Kirstie Suthern 4:28 pm 22 Mar 19

    Fiona Ryan nope going public thank goodness! Very interesting though!

Jubes Cristiano Jubes Cristiano 3:18 pm 22 Mar 19

Illy Roumian standard

    Illy Roumian Illy Roumian 3:34 pm 22 Mar 19

    Would be good to know the facts behind this.

Erin Clarke Erin Clarke 2:45 pm 22 Mar 19

Rebecca Stevens there's a midwife shortage. Just sayin... Ya know

Lina Sergi Lina Sergi 2:26 pm 22 Mar 19

Tamera stick to JJ

Joshua McTackett Joshua McTackett 2:26 pm 22 Mar 19

There's no incentive for people to do the extra training for midwifery! Same pay as an RN and 2 more years of study?


    Kelly Lane Kelly Lane 2:59 pm 23 Mar 19

    It’s only three years if you want to do a straight Bachelor of Midwifery.

    Joshua McTackett Joshua McTackett 3:44 pm 23 Mar 19

    Kelly Lane Yes someone else corrected me on that the other day.

    It's a fairly limited career path by contrast, isn't it?

    Clare Emily Green Clare Emily Green 8:42 pm 23 Mar 19

    The only limits are your imagination!! Midwifery is obviously a specialised area of healthcare - so I suppose you wouldn't choose to do the straight BMid if you desperately wanted to do general nursing also.

    With a BMid degree though, you can do:

    - antenatal

    - labour and birth

    - Postnatal

    - A combination of them

    - Special care nursery

    - Independent midwifery

    - Continuity midwifery

    - Private midwifery

    - Research

    - Education

    - Breastfeeding and lactation

    - Specialised care - eg. Diabetes/ Cultural /language/ disabilities ect. midwifery

    The possibilities are endless!!

    Clare Emily Green Clare Emily Green 8:56 pm 23 Mar 19

    And. Yes, nurse/midwives do actually get paid a small percentage more to be dual trained 🤗

    Kelly Lane Kelly Lane 9:02 pm 23 Mar 19

    Exactly what Clare said. Not limited at all!

Robert Honeybone Snr Robert Honeybone Snr 2:17 pm 22 Mar 19

Decent compensation will get you more midwives

Lauren Hass Lauren Hass 2:10 pm 22 Mar 19

Laura Jermyn whaaaaat

    Laura Jermyn Laura Jermyn 3:00 pm 22 Mar 19

    Lauren Hass yep but don’t worry you’re not going private!!

Chell Inez Chell Inez 1:36 pm 22 Mar 19

That is terrible, we had awesome care from the team there when we had our son last July. Found the care far superior to what I received at Calvary Deakin with my first.

Deejay Jukic Deejay Jukic 1:33 pm 22 Mar 19

Jenny Wu say your post the other night and got work to investigate x

Teneal Kowalick Teneal Kowalick 1:28 pm 22 Mar 19

Make it easier to get into the midwife course at UC for mature age students.

    Samantha Cullen Samantha Cullen 1:32 pm 22 Mar 19

    Teneal Kowalick its more the problem that midwives are choosing to work in the public system vs the private system. The public hospitals is where we work as Students and therefore often take up roles as graduate midwives at these hospitals.

    Teneal Kowalick Teneal Kowalick 1:43 pm 22 Mar 19

    Samantha James that makes a lot of sense!!

    Samantha Cullen Samantha Cullen 2:01 pm 22 Mar 19

    I also think the degree is restrictive becausr they want us all to get a job. If the intake is too big (like nursing for instance) there is not enough placements or women in Canberra for us to fulfill our practice requirements. Its small for many reasons.

    Teneal Kowalick Teneal Kowalick 2:03 pm 22 Mar 19

    That also makes sense but then lots of hospitals seem to have a midwife shortage, not just this one.

    Samantha Cullen Samantha Cullen 2:19 pm 22 Mar 19

    Yeah, I think its about finding a balance. Its also about retention.

    Belinda Napier Belinda Napier 2:20 pm 22 Mar 19

    Teneal Kowalick the degree intake is small to ensure that all students get the required access to prac.

    Tabitha Stewart Tabitha Stewart 7:44 pm 22 Mar 19

    The nursing degree at UC is nursing, midwifery and public health. I think they may have changed it in the past year or two 😊 and for me was very easy to get into.

    Teneal Kowalick Teneal Kowalick 7:45 pm 22 Mar 19

    Tabitha Stewart it used to be straight up midwifery, so that’s interesting:)

    Tabitha Stewart Tabitha Stewart 7:51 pm 22 Mar 19

    I think there is a straight up midwifery course as well, I don't know about it before I applied.

    Samantha Cullen Samantha Cullen 8:15 pm 22 Mar 19

    Tabitha Stewart I am a bachelor of Midwifery Student at UC and there is just a bmid.

    Lou Hossack Lou Hossack 9:12 pm 22 Mar 19

    "The lack of a birthing centre had hindered the private hospital’s ability to attract and retain midwives because of their preference to gain experience in a facility which offers a full obstetric service."

    Its got nothing to do with lack of midwives. Midwives dont want to work there. There are plenty of midwifery degrees that suit mature age students. Midwifery is a stand alone degree, shop around , loads of places offer it.

Tru Kel Tru Kel 1:27 pm 22 Mar 19

Broader ACT trend??? Is that “political correctness” for can’t retain staff due to poor business culture??? Seriously? Calvary as a business really have only themselves to blame!

Lydia McNaught Lydia McNaught 1:18 pm 22 Mar 19

Luke McNaught lucky we got in with Lachie.

Kate King Kate King 1:13 pm 22 Mar 19

Yet they want to put maternity at Yass... cant get a doctor at the hospital there but hey let's do it anyway

Megan Charlton Megan Charlton 1:02 pm 22 Mar 19

Universities are turning away amazing people who want to train as midwives so clearly the issue isn't a shortage of midwives but an inability to recruit and keep them.

    Jacqui Baxendale Jacqui Baxendale 1:59 pm 22 Mar 19

    Megan Charlton exactly right! I was lucky to get accepted first go into midwifery but I’ve heard it’s extremely hard to get in. I know a few people who have had to apply a few times before they got accepted

    Belinda Napier Belinda Napier 2:24 pm 22 Mar 19

    Megan Charlton UC keeps its student midwife numbers down to make sure that each student has access to the prac needed for the degree.

    Emma Minion Emma Minion 12:40 am 23 Mar 19

    This will be my 3rd year applying, the competition for a place is high

Kacey Butterworth Kacey Butterworth 1:01 pm 22 Mar 19

Wendy, this must be what Kerry was talking about yesterday.

Meryl McKerrow Meryl McKerrow 12:43 pm 22 Mar 19

Midwives exist. Midwives that are willing to kill themselves in understaffed environments and are not financially compensated adequately might not be. So- not surprised?

Lisa Nichols Lisa Nichols 12:39 pm 22 Mar 19

I was there 5 years ago and 2 nurses running around like crazy was never enough for all the rooms. Such a shame though.

Emma Flenley Emma Flenley 12:31 pm 22 Mar 19

Julie Hearn you are in demand. Need more Julie’s

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