PEI

Midwives group applies for regulation under new provincial act

The P.E.I. Midwives Association has taken the first step in a process that would allow midwives to practise on P.E.I.

'They'll have an option for who provides their care'

The P.E.I. Midwives Association has taken the first step in a process that would see midwifery regulated in the province. (Andrew Shurtleff/Associated Press)

The P.E.I. Midwives Association has taken the first step in a process that would allow midwives to practise on P.E.I.

The association has submitted an application to the province to see regulations for midwifery put in place under the new P.E.I. Health Professionals Act.

Joyce England, the association's president, said the group had been waiting more than a year for the act to be proclaimed, which happened last October.

Joyce England, president of the P.E.I. Midwives Association, says the group would like to see midwives work alongside health-care professionals to provide the best care. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

She said she has been working for more than a decade to get midwifery regulated and funded on P.E.I. She said the association would like to see midwifery funded by the province and to see midwives work alongside health-care professionals to provide added care for pregnant women across the Island.

"If it goes through, then what we have asked for is publicly funded midwifery, which it is in all of the other provinces," England said.

Providing more options

She said the association has submitted a business plan and several models for how midwifery could be regulated. She said these models are based on systems in other provinces, which include funding options and strategies for how midwifery could build upon current services.

"They would work as a team, I would hope, to provide the best care possible for each individual client and I think that's what's missing now," England said. 

She said the model put forward by the association calls for at least five midwives to practise across P.E.I.. They would be funded and regulated by the government.

Within the model, midwives would be able to accept referrals from other health-care professionals and become part of a collaborative health-care practice, she added.

"They'll have an option for who provides their care and the present process would continue, but with midwives as the option for care.

"Midwives are actually educators and that's something that's missing, in my opinion, in the present system."

'A long process'

England said submitting the application is the beginning of a lengthy process. It could be more than a year before the application is processed. 

She said if it's approved, the association would work with the province, health-care professionals and the public to help develop regulations. 

England says the application includes a proposed business plan and regulation models, based on systems already in place in other provinces. (Brittany Spencer/CBC)

In a written statement, the province said it will be considering their application in due course and that there are several other applications for regulation.

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