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Study Reveals Queensland Midwives Caring For Up To 20 People In A Shift

A recent study conducted by the Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union (QNMU) across 47 hospitals has revealed that single midwives are being assigned as many as 20 mothers and babies in one shift.

Kate Veach, the Secretary of the QNMU, expressed deep concerns about these unsafe conditions.

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“Almost 50 per cent of midwives involved in the audit said mothers in their care had complex needs and required high levels of care,” Ms Veach said.

She said this situation is far from safe for both the midwives and the mothers and babies they care for.

“This simply is not safe. Midwives are deeply concerned for the wellbeing of Queensland mothers, babies and their colleagues who are experiencing unsafe workloads and burnout,” she said.

QNMU member and Midwife Ashleigh Sullivan said the QNMU and its 71,000 midwife and nurse members urged the government to make positive changes.

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Ms Sullivan said that 11 per cent of midwives were handling up to 20 women and babies at once.

“A further 27% of midwives have reported being left to care for up to 18 mothers and babies at a time,” she said.

“Queensland midwives have repeatedly told health authorities, politicians and the media that conditions in Queensland maternity wards are not safe. ”

The findings have prompted a call on the state government to commit appropriate funding to Queensland midwives and midwife-led models of care such as Midwifery Group Practice (MGP).  

The state budget currently includes $42 million in maternity funding, but it remains unclear how much will be allocated to midwives and successful models like MGP.

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