Funding for midwives would save New Brunswick money, group says

A New Brunswick group is pushing for midwifery to become an election issue, saying the provincial government could save about $1 million a year if it funded the service.

N.B. Families for Midwives wants funding to be an election issue

N.B. Families for Midwives is lobbying for funding for midwives to become an issue in the upcoming provincial election.

N.B. Families for Midwives is urging political parties in the province to include funding for midwives in their election platforms.
"Midwives provide such excellent care. They have amazing outcomes. They have benefits such as reduced intervention, really, really increased breastfeeding rates. But they also save money," said spokesperson Sonya Burrill.

If 10 per cent of families in New Brunswick used a midwife, the government would save almost $1 million per year, she said.

Department of Health officials say just one midwife would cost the province $190,000 per year.

Still, Burrill contends there would be long-term savings for the province with midwives.

Burrill, who has three children — one born with the help of a midwife in Ontario and the other two with obstetricians in New Brunswick — says using high-cost specialists for every healthy birth is not an efficient use of resources.

"So it's not about $190,000 for a midwife, it's about comparing that $190,000 for a midwife with what it costs for those mothers and babies to be seen by obstetricians, family physicians, in the ER because there's no support. So it's a matter of who they're being cared for, by, and which one is most cost-effective," said Burrill.

The provincial government plans to reinstate the Midwifery Council of New Brunswick this fall, but says no funding is available for implementation of midwives.


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