Association president says N.S. midwives are overworked

The president of the Association of Nova Scotia Midwives says the nine midwives in Halifax, Bridgewater and Antigonish are overworked and don't come close to meeting the demand of expectant mothers.

9 midwives in Halifax, Bridgewater and Antigonish aren't meeting demand, says Kelly Chisholm

The president of the Association of Nova Scotia Midwives says the nine midwives in Halifax, Bridgewater and Antigonish are overworked and don't come close to meeting the demand of expectant mothers. (Regis Duvignau/Reuters)

The president of the Association of Nova Scotia Midwives says the nine midwives in Halifax, Bridgewater and Antigonish are overworked and don't come close to meeting the demand of expectant mothers.

Kelly Chisholm said the South Shore's last remaining midwife went on leave Tuesday, claiming she was overworked. Chisholm also predicts service in Antigonish will shut down soon because one of two is already on leave and the other midwife can't keep up with the demand.

"I have been in contact with her and I know that is currently a challenging situation for her," said Chisholm.

'24/7 is not sustainable'

Chisholm said midwives in Antigonish typically care for 20 to 40 clients per year. They keep regular clinic hours and do house calls. But Chisholm said it's the around-the-clock, on-call demands that have been so difficult.

The midwife who recently took a leave in Bridgewater, Chisholm said, had only been on the job for three months.

"Someone having the burden of being on call 24/7 is not sustainable over a long period of time," Chisholm said. "And teams of two are just not big enough."

Recruitment efforts

Chisholm said the association plans to meet with Nova Scotia's health minister in the near future to discuss next steps.

Sally Loring, senior director for maternity and child health services for the Nova Scotia Health Authority, said she's looking for another midwife to place in the Bridgewater clinic.

"The plan for the past few weeks has been to try and recruit another midwife to the team and we will continue trying to do that," Loring said.

With files from Preston Mulligan