I had message via Twitter the other day from a member of my network. She was telling me that a friend of hers has to travel to Christchurch from the West Coast of the South Island to give birth. This journey takes a number of hours by car, across the Southern Alps. It's not a trip I would want to take whilst in labour.
Shortages of midwives and medical staff
The press has been concentrating on the shortage of medical staff but there is an equal shortage of midwives. The problem of attracting staff to rural areas is an ongoing one and is likely to become a political issue in the upcoming New Zealand election.
A bonus payment has been made to rural midwives so that is a positive move. But in the meantime, women have the expense and emotional trauma of having move out of their locale to have their babies, away from family and friends.
Supporting colleagues in rural locations
This makes me thinking that what the rest of us can do to support our colleagues to stay working in rural areas, including finding ways to provide forums for reflection and information exchange like the online midwifery seminars I facilitate.
Somehow I have got to find ways of getting the message out about the online seminars not just to my local community of midwives but throughout New Zealand. My current method of using snowballing to disseminate information about them doesn't appear to be working. Any other ideas about what I could do?
Image: Southern Alps 'Bleak Horizon' Timmy Toucan