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Midwives to become part of district's maternity care

by Paula Levy

 COUNTY - Expectant moms on the South Shore will soon have access to a publicly funded midwifery service.

 The province has announced South Shore Health (SSH) will be among the three sites chosen as models in order to integrate midwives into the province's maternity care. The IWK Health Centre and Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority have also been chosen.

 SSH vice-president of clinical care Sandra Christie says the announcement is good news for maternity care in the district. She says it is anticipated this district will get two of the seven midwife positions announced last week.

 Just what SSH's midwifery service will look like will be decided by a Department of Health (DOH) Midwifery Integration Committee with representatives from the South Shore.

 Over the next 18 to 24 months, the committee will formulate models of care for each site as well as develop policies and protocols governing midwifery practice in Nova Scotia.

 Bridgewater family physician Dr. Paul Newton, who works exclusively at the South Shore Regional Hospital obstetrics clinic, and OBS and pediatrics nurse manager Lynn Farrell will represent South Shore Health on the committee.

 Ms Christie notes that midwives will be part of the obstetrics services currently available at South Shore Regional Hospital. But it doesn't mean the South Shore midwives will not be able to assist with home deliveries.

 "There is all kinds of opportunity for support for rural women," says Ms Christie.

 While there is a ways to go before midwives will be able to deliver some of the 350 babies born at South Shore Regional Hospital each year, she says the service could be available as early as December.

 The entire project is expected to cost the Department of Health $2 million over the next two years. DOH spokeswoman Krista Chapdelaine says one-quarter of that will go towards the annual costs of a regulatory council and associated insurance. The balance of the funding will be allocated to the model sites for their ongoing expenses.

 Midwifery legislation was passed in Nova Scotia in November 2006. Since then, the Health Department has been developing regulation and licencing guidelines necessary for the act to be proclaimed. Once proclaimed, the act will allow midwives to practice as a regulated profession.



posted on 06/24/08
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