Midwives waiting on proclamation to begin offering services on P.E.I.

An advocacy group for midwives in the province wants to know what’s happening with the legislation that could make it legal for midwives to practice on P.E.I.

The BORN midwife advocacy group met Wednesday evening in Charlottetown to assess next steps in their campaign to allow midwives to practice in the province.

The Registered Health Professions Act was passed during the 2017 spring sitting, but has yet to be proclaimed.

The act could open the door to have midwives practice in the province, but even after proclamation there are still more steps regarding regulation and registering.

“It’s a fairly long process,” said Joyce England, president of the Prince Edward Island Midwives Association.

Joyce England has been lobbying the P.E.I. government for years to regulate midwives on the Island.(Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

Her group has been lobbying government for years, and has submitted several documents to government to get the ball rolling, including registration application and a business plan. 

“We have a model we’ve submitted to government, which would be offer midwifery care from point to point using five midwives and they would be funded by government, and regulated by government,” England said.

“They would travel to clients. We propose that it be one year where there would be a coordinator to set all this up and then bringing on one midwife and then the next.”

The group suggested a three-year implementation of the program, but first the government has to put the legislation into action. 

Advocacy group going strong 

The BORN midwife advocacy group is also trying to gather more members to lobby for the practice. 

“I knew that a midwifery advocacy group in New Brunswick was largely part of getting midwives together there, so I was really hoping that we could gather a lot of people … and tell the government we do want midwives, there are so many families waiting for this service,” said Megan Burnside, a member of the group.

Megan Burnside, a member of the BORN midwife advocacy group, is trying to gather more members to lobby for the practice.(Natalia Goodwin/CBC)

Burnside said the group is hearing from women who want to move to the Island, but are hesitant because of the lack of service.

Monelli Walker, who attended Wednsday’s meeting, delayed her move to P.E.I. so she could have her son with midwives in Ontario. Now she worries about what will happen with her next child. 

“It’s hard to think that I wouldn’t have that midwifery experience and so I’m trying my hardest to educate as many women as I meet in mommy groups,” she said.

“This something that is important to me and important to a lot of other women that are coming on to the Island that are either pregnant or wanting to start a family.”

England has requested a sit-down with the deputy minister of health to see when the legislation will come into effect.

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