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Shore DHB’s midwife numbers hit by health-worker vaccine mandate

Flagstaff Team

Losing the services of North Shore midwives due to the health-worker vaccine mandate is expected to increase pressure on the midwifery service.

The Waitemata District Health Board, which covers the North Shore, has lost 86 staff, including six midwives, due to the Covid vaccine mandate for health workers. This is 2 per cent of the workforce.

All health workers had to have at least one Covid vaccine by 15 November by law, and both doses by 1 January.

The Midwives’ College of New Zealand said that no DHB midwives had so far lost their jobs. “Those who have not yet had one vaccine were stood down from their roles on 16 November,” said the college’s employee representation and advisory service co-leader, Caroline Conroy.

“Some are applying for health exemptions, others are considering the vaccine, early retirement or other options,” she told the Observer. It would not be known for a

few weeks how many would lose their jobs, as they were entitled to a four-week notice period. “And there is still time for them to have their vaccines and meet the 1 January deadline.”

North Shore already had some midwifery vacancies, Conroy said. “So the loss of any midwife does add pressure to the service.

“There will be new graduates joining the workforce in the New Year and they will be very much welcomed by the midwives currently working at North Shore.”

Some elective work, such as inductions of labour or elective caesarean sections, may have reduced capacity, but this happens from time to time in response to vacancies, Conroy said. “Priority is always given to those women with greatest need.”

Unvaccinated staff at Waitemata DHB also include 22 nurses, 4 senior medical officers, 11 registered officers and 53 other unspecified roles, according to figures published in the New Zealand Herald.

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