Monday, November 8, 2010

The richest midwives in the world

I had a good laugh yesterday.

I read a commentary by David Farrar on the latest report about New Zealand maternity services to the Parliamentary Select Committee. Putting aside David's opinion for one moment...that GPs leaving the maternity services has been a disaster for New Zealand maternity services...I was intrigued to see the accompanying comments.

Midwives' pay
There were some interesting replies and opinions about the current maternity services and midwives...most of which I totally disagree with. I was going to leave things as they were, but I am afraid I could not resist replying to several comments about midwives' pay and the way the maternity services are funded.

Midwife millionaires
According to several readers...the reason the maternity services are in such a pickle (I do not think the maternity services are in a pickle) is because LMC (self-employed) midwives are paid too much...NZ$7000 per case...and they do not refer to obstetricians and secondary maternity services because they lose money.

The reason I laughed was because it is so ridiculous to think midwives are paid $7000 per case. If it were true, I would not be wasting my time writing this blog post...I'd be out there catching babies.

The truth
The truth is that midwives get paid roughly $3000 per case (which depends according to variables like when the woman books with the midwife). Once the midwife has paid all the costs of being self-employed as well as expenses, she clears about $1000. The other point is that midwives do NOT lose funding if they refer to secondary services...there is no financial incentive to stop midwives referring to doctors...secondary services are financed by another fund.

Funding of the New Zealand maternity services
What drives me nuts is people spreading inaccurate information about midwives when clearly they have not researched a topic and do not know what they are talking about.

In this case, all the information about the funding for the maternity services and LMC midwives' pay, referral guidelines and the services midwives are legislated to provide can be found in the Ministry of Health Section 88 Maternity Notice 2007 - it is worth having a look especially if you are pregnant and want to check out exactly what you can expect from your midwife.

Image: 'Dreaming of diamonds'


Anonymous said...

I WISH I could clear $3000/birth, but as my women are not choosing to birth at home and are not rural the best I can do is ~$2500, and it is more like $2300 on average!

But I guess midwifery is not a lucrative career that one enters into for glory and wealth!

Sarah Stewart said...

I thought I was being a tad generous but it's been a while since I practised as a full time LMC. Having said that, I wasn't trying to get into an argument about money but rather pointing out how people get on their high horses without checking the facts.

I have always maintained LMC midwives are poorly paid for what they do...which is why I do not do LMC work any more!! For another commentary on this topic, have a look at what Pam has to to say: