Midwives settlement reached, but still under wraps

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A settlement has been reached between community midwives and the Ministry of Health, but will stay under wraps until at least Friday.

A confidential email obtained by RNZ shows the College of Midwives (COM) and the Ministry of Health agreed on a settlement for community midwives on December 21.

The settlement relates to an on-going dispute between community midwives and the Ministry of Health over claims they were being discriminated against because they are mostly women, says COM spokesperson Jill Ovens.

"That went to the High Court, it ended up in mediation process with the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Health agreed to a co-design process where they would try and calculate what would be a fair remuneration process for the self-employed midwives."

In the email to midwives, sent on 21 December, COM chief executive Karen Guilliland confirmed a settlement had been reached that day.

"Your team believes this new agreement redresses the Ministry's breach and has left us feeling positive about a favourable outcome for the 2019 budget while we reconfigure the new funding agreement," says the email.

Karen then says a joint-statement had been drafted, which they had hoped to release that day in December.

"However, this afternoon the Ministry has informed us that due to the Christmas timing of the mediation agreement they are unable to release any public statement as senior government Ministers have not had the opportunity to read it as their offices are now closed.

"Although we appreciate this is frustrating for members, we are viewing this as a positive signal that at last we have the attention and interest of senior members of the government."

The email says the Ministry aimed to release the public statement around Friday 11 January, when Ministers had returned to work.

In a statement, the Ministry of Health say it had not been able to brief the government on the outcome of the mediation, which related to the co-design process.

It will announce the outcome once the government is informed.



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