Whitehorse Daily Star

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LICENSED MIDWIFE – Christina Kaiser, seen here with the first Yukon baby born in 2020, is one of two licensed midwives who currently calls the Yukon home. Kaiser offers midwifery at full price to families, because the service is not publicly funded.

Create publicly funded midwifery: petition

A petition demanding publicly funded midwifery in the Yukon has garnered hundreds of signatures, due to the territorial government’s delay in delivering the promised regulation.

By Gabrielle Plonka on September 14, 2020

A petition demanding publicly funded midwifery in the Yukon has garnered hundreds of signatures, due to the territorial government’s delay in delivering the promised regulation.

“We thought we were getting somewhere with midwifery,” Rosemary Osmand, a director at the Community Midwifery Association Yukon, told the Star recently.

“(The Yukon government) said by the end of 2019, they wanted to have midwifery implemented and funded – that’s almost a year ago.”

The board of directors launched its online petition on Sept 1. As of noon today, the petition had garnered 813 signatures. http://chng.it/R4jgDRK8Zy

Osmand said the petition aims to raise local awareness.

“We just wanted to let people know, again, that midwifery is still not regulated here,” Osmand said.

“It’s come up a few times, it resurfaces and people get energized and then it goes dormant and people think, ‘Oh, it’s been done now,’ but it’s still not done.”

Osmand said the high number of respondents to the petition is encouraging, and suggests that Yukoners want to see midwifery funded in the territory. 

“So far, we’ve had a positive response,” Osmand said.

“When I read through the comments, it’s from people who have had access to a midwife in other jurisdictions or people who want to birth in the communities.”

Currently, expectant parents in the communities must give birth in one of the Yukon’s hospitals.

Osmand noted that in order to travel to hospital, some families must either arrange for childcare or one partner must stay behind.

“I think it can be quite difficult for some families,” Osmand said.

“It’s just a lot of stress during a time when you don’t want that.”

The Yukon is currently the only Canadian jurisdiction that doesn’t regulate and publicly fund midwifery. There are two midwives who call the territory home and are licensed through other jurisdictions.

Yukon families who desire midwifery services must pay the fee out-of-pocket, which makes it prohibitively expensive for most.

The lack of regulation also means that families who opt for home birth aren’t able to transfer to hospital with their midwife during labour.

“We want midwifery to be regulated, so that it’s co-ordinated with the rest of the healthcare system,” Osmand said.

“We want to be able to transfer care to a doctor, if necessary…. The whole system can work very cohesively together to provide optimal care for families who choose it.”

Osmand said the Yukon’s two midwives are both currently working outside of the territory, which is required to maintain their registration and to ensure they’re fully prepared to work in the Yukon when the opportunity arises.

Osmand called it “just baffling” that midwifery has not been regulated in the Yukon yet.

“In other jurisdictions around the world, midwifery is really the top system of choice for women,” Osmand said.

“It’s evidence-based and puts the decision-making and power back in the women’s hands.

“It’s safe, it’s effective, it’s everything we could want, it’s just such a huge opportunity that we’re missing out on here.”

Last February, the government announced it had selected a model of care for midwifery.

Midwives will eventually be government employees. The first action under the approved model will be to hire a midwifery consultant to co-ordinate the planning and program implementation.

The position will be responsible for leading an implementation advisory committee. The model of care will take a phased approach starting with full midwifery services being offered in Whitehorse.

The government said last February that final regulations would be introduced this year. 

Clarissa Wall, a Department of Health and Social Services spokeswoman, told the Star in an email last Wednesday that midwifery is still a priority.

Wall said draft regulations and framework have been completed, and department staff are now implementing feedback from physicians, midwives, regulators from other jurisdictions and the Yukon Hospital Corp.

“We remain on track to have a finalized regulation by the end of 2020, and are continuing to work towards enabling midwives to begin practising by the fall of 2021,” Wall said.

“We appreciate the ongoing support from the community and across the country.

“Successful implementation of midwifery will take the support of all our health care providers, and we look forward to working with them.”

Comments (4)

Up 2 Down 0

Lennie on Sep 18, 2020 at 11:36 am

Midwifery is a good idea but I hate growing Government.
While I'm at it, we need to get on the Back of Yukon Hospital Corp., WGH.
Many Yukoners have worked very hard to raise millions of dollars to purchase the latest equipment. I know, over the years, my family and I have donated thousands to the cause. One family member has seen the specialist and an MRI ordered several months ago. No action to date, not even a phone call. No point in phoning them. Nobody will answer the phone or return messages. The same thing if one needs an X-Ray. I phoned every number I could find at WGH. I finally got a phone call advising wait a further 2 months. What in H--- is wrong with this picture? I CAN TELL YOU, POSITIVELY NO MORE DONATIONS FROM THIS FAMILY.
So Midwives, good luck. At least you are in the line up.


Up 10 Down 2

Jennifer on Sep 16, 2020 at 9:05 pm

There is nothing dangerous about educated and trained midwives. Midwives offer excellent care with excellent outcomes coast to coast and across the north and in many rural and remote communities. If doctors want to leave, let them..good riddance!! There are many excellent doctors who will move here and are waiting for the opportunity to prioritize patients’ needs not their own bank accounts. Enough is enough. Stop allowing the doctors to rail road something that has been proven everywhere else to be a gold standard of maternity care.

Up 6 Down 7

Karyn Doorite on Sep 15, 2020 at 8:24 am

@ TMYK, liberals lie only when they speak. Are you just learning this?
Since we fund the killing of many humans via abortion, seems logical that we can fund folks that WISH to bring life into this world.
Hence the issue, too logical and by default will never happen.

Anyone in the health industry able to inform me if even one abortion was cancelled during this farce of germ fear?
Good luck with the funding, please remember the only time a Liberal is lying is when they speak.

Up 19 Down 7

TMYK on Sep 14, 2020 at 3:11 pm

The Liberals promised they would have this done in their first year during the election. 4 years later...

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