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Expansion of midwife services would increase choice for families, save health care system money: Wildrose

EDMONTON, AB (February 16, 2015): In order to improve choice for pregnancy care, generate savings and lessen strain on Alberta’s health care system, a Wildrose government would improve access to midwifery services for new moms and families and remove the cap for how many women can use the service, the Wildrose Official opposition said today.

Midwifery care is estimated to generate savings of up to $1172 throughout course of care and studies in Ontario have shown midwife attended births in hospital generate savings of up to $800. Currently, the Alberta Association of Midwives (AAM) is negotiating with Alberta Health Services (AHS) over a new service agreement.

Wildrose Shadow Status of Women Minister Angela Pitt said when women want to have more access and choice throughout the course of care of their pregnancies, those services should be available to them.

“For low-risk pregnancies, more access to different delivery options and postpartum care helps Alberta’s young families and comes with the added benefit of generating long-term savings throughout Alberta’s health care system,” Pitt said. “Wildrose was proud to campaign on more support for midwives, and fundamentally believes in improving choice and access in Alberta’s health care system for new families.”

Demand continues to increase for midwife services, even though the current agreement is capped and hospitals are facing overcrowding.

Due to the nature of the current service agreement, funding is based on a one year fiscal cycle. As a result, there are currently women due next fiscal year who are being seen by midwives who have no certainty whether these services will be funded after March 31.

“Increasing patient choice means a more responsive and more cost-effective health care system,” Wildrose Shadow Health Minister Drew Barnes said. “Right now, too much money is funneled towards expensive services instead of patient-centred care. Expanding midwife services should be a part of the solution.”