Regulated midwifery services to be available on P.E.I. in new year, says minister

The P.E.I. government is moving forward with its plan to implement regulated midwifery services on the Island.

'We've been waiting a long time for this'

P.E.I. Health Minister James Aylward is promising publicly-funded midwifery services in will begin on P.E.I. early next year. (Andrew Shurtleff/AP)

The P.E.I. government is moving ahead with a plan to implement regulated publicly-funded midwifery services on the Island, and plans to roll out the publicly-funded service in early 2020. 

In an email to CBC News, Health Minister James Aylward says the announcement follows input from Island women and groups who have stressed the importance of midwifery.

He said Island women expressed the importance of being able to choose between in-hospital and home-based care with the support of a midwife. 

The news comes as the president of the Canadian Association of Midwives is touring the Atlantic region this week. 

'Last province to regulate'

Nathalie Pambrun stepped into the role last year, and is the organization's first Indigenous president. 

'We're very excited about the public announcement,' says Nathalie Pambrun, president of the Canadian Association of Midwives. (CBC News: Compass)

"We've been waiting a long time for this. Prince Edward Island is the last province to regulate and fund midwifery," Pambrun said Monday in an interview with CBC News: Compass host Louise Martin. 

"We're very excited about the public announcement," she said. "I think there are many families who have been waiting here for the service for quite some time."

She said while P.E.I. appears to have been behind in implementing the service, regulated midwifery has been implemented differently across the country. 

Pambrun noted Nova Scotia recently celebrated 10 years of regulated midwifery and Ontario has been regulating its own midwifery services for nearly 30 years. 

Lack of education 

Pambrun said she suspects part of the reason Atlantic provinces have lagged behind others is a lack of formal education available for people interested in midwifery in the region. 

"I was really excited to see the Nova Scotia government interested in launching discussions around an Atlantic midwifery education program," she said. 

Aylward said to start, P.E.I.'s regulated midwifery services will focus on pre-natal and post-natal care. The service is then expected to expand to in-hospital and home births.

To help with the transition, the province also plans to hire a midwifery co-ordinator.

"The success of midwifery is dependent on the integration into the health care system, so I want to ensure it is seamless and safe," Aylward said. 

More P.E.I. news

With files from CBC News: Compass


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