AHS funding for Alberta midwives has some thinking about return to two-tiered model

Before receiving public funding in 2009 midwives worked on a private-pay system. Some are thinking of returning to the two-tier model to accommodate the 1,800 women on a wait list.

Before receiving funding in 2009 midwives worked on a private-pay system

Some centres, including the St. Albert Community Midwives clinic, will have to close their doors when their funding runs out. (CBC)

Megan Hawryschuk isn't looking forward to having another hospital birth. 

When she was just six weeks pregnant, she applied to have a midwife. But now, at 18 weeks pregnant, she is just one of 1,800 women in Alberta on a wait list for the service.

Hawryschuk has accepted the fact that this birth, like her last, will take place at a hospital.

"I was upset when I had to be in a hospital and I'm just not looking forward to that part of the birth," said Hawryschuk.

"When you go to a doctor, it's so quick, just in and out. They don't really care about your feelings."

Megan Hawryschuk says her first birth in hospital was stressful and impersonal. (CBC)

On Friday, Alberta Health Services released their funding allocation for midwives and many in the profession have major concerns.

The main issue is some centres got the full amount they requested, while others received far less.

The Alberta Association of Midwives said in a press release several practices will be forced to close and others will have to turn away some current clients. 

In one case a midwife intending to serve a rural part of Alberta received no funding at all.

Before receiving public funding in 2009, midwives worked on a private-pay system to keep up with the demand.

With no regulations in place against paying for a midwife privately, some are now contemplating that option once again.

However, some people, including Hawryschuk, say that two-tiered model is unfair. 

"I guess if I really wanted to do it, it would be good to have that option as well," she said.

"But if it's free to have a baby in a hospital, it should be free to have it wherever you like it."


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