PEI

P.E.I. midwifery program delayed at least another year

The P.E.I. government will not meet its goal of bringing midwifery to the province by this fall, set by the health minister in February, and the program development leader says she cannot set a timeline.

‘Building a program that's going to be successful and sustainable, it can't be rushed’

Various organizations have been lobbying for midwifery on P.E.I. for more than 20 years. (Andrew Shurtleff/Associated Press)

The P.E.I. government will not meet its goal of bringing midwifery to the province by this fall, set by the health minister in February, and the program development leader says she cannot set a timeline.

"There's so much work that's being done right now, but unfortunately it is still kind of in the earlier stages," Melissa Roberts, the Alberta-based midwife leading the program's development, told Island Morning host Mitch Cormier.

"Building a program that's going to be successful and sustainable, it can't be rushed."

Provincial officials told CBC News the current target is late 2022.

James Aylward, now transportation and infrastructure minister but then health minister, said on Feb. 2 he was planning a program with three midwives and a full-time co-ordinator. It was an update on an earlier plan to have midwives at work in the province by January 2020.

Various organizations have been lobbying for midwifery services on the Island for more than 20 years.

Roberts said the province is currently holding engagement sessions, meeting with health care providers and members of the community to explore what Islanders' hopes and concerns about midwifery on the Island are.

"Those engagement sessions are really meant to talk about midwifery, educate people about midwifery, for people to ask questions, and also to hear people's concerns as well," she said.

Taking the time to design the program properly is key to its sustainability, says Melissa Roberts. (Prairie Midwives)

"We don't want to throw together a program and then not have it succeed. So, I mean, we are working hard to get it to Island families as soon as we can. But putting a timeline on that is just something that's hard to do right now."

While Roberts is currently based in Alberta, her intention is to move to P.E.I. to practice once the program is operating. In the meantime, she needs to remain in Alberta in order to keep up her midwifery skills.

More from CBC P.E.I.

With files from Island Morning

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