March for Midwives

The Headwaters Hospital in Orangeville is currently refusing to grant privileges to all of the midwives from the local midwifery practice (Midwives of Headwater Hills). Until they do, the midwives are refusing to practice there. This means that women from Orangeville currently need to travel to the hospital in Fergus for their births or have home births.

By granting only two of the midwives from the practice privileges, the hospital was setting up a situation where women might have to have a transfer of care midway through labour if the labour went long and their midwife needed to be relieved and the only midwife available was without privileges. Similarly, in circumstances involving simultaneous births, women might not be able to have a midwife at all because the only midwife available might be one without privileges. This situation fails to account for any contingencies, such as simultaneous births, midwife illness or inclement weather. It basically guarantees an unhealthy work-life for the midwives who would be at serious risk of burn-out. To deny privileges to any of the midwives in this small practice is to deny women the right to their choice of practitioner and birth setting. This is unacceptable!

There will be a march in Orangeville on November 12th, 2011 from the midwifery office up to the hospital. Come out and support the midwives!

You can also send a letter to the hospital, voicing your support for the midwives:

Cholly Boland, President and CEO

Headwaters Health care Centre

100 Rolling Hills Dr

Orangeville, Ontario

L9W 4X9

cboland@headwatershealth.ca

and

Louise Kindree, Chair Board of Directors

Headwaters Health Care Centre

100 Rolling Hills Dr

Orangeville, Ontario

L9W 4×9

dhyatt@headwatershealth.ca

If you would like to request a form letter to send, contact the Midwives of Headwater Hills directly and they will mail you one free of charge.

This is the notice that the midwives are currently sending to their clients:

NOTICE TO CURRENT CLIENTS March 30 2011

This letter is to notify our clients that Midwives of Headwater Hills will temporarily stop providing midwifery services at Headwaters Health Care Centre as of May 1st, 2011 due to a lack of hospital privileges for all midwives in our practice.
Currently two of our midwives hold full privileges and our third midwife holds locum privileges at HHCC.  Despite over a year of sustained efforts to obtain full privileges for our third midwife and get approval for privileges for additional midwives, full hospital privileges for more than two midwives at Headwaters Hospital are not in the immediate future.  Though the Ministry of Health has acknowledged the need for a full group of midwives in Orangeville and has provided funding, HHCC does not recognize that more than two midwives are needed. Opposition to midwifery privileges has come primarily from the obstetricians in this community.We require more midwives in our practice in order to:a) meet increasing demand for midwifery services in Orangeville and surrounding areab) ensure adequate coverage for weekends off and periodic holidaysc) ensure a reasonable pool of midwives to safely serve labouring women in situations involving midwife illness or fatigue, and inclement weather, and to prevent midwife burn-out

Currently there are three midwives in our practice, and they are continuously on-call 24 hours a day for 3-6 weeks at a time.  Most midwifery practices in Ontario are groups of 4 to 12 midwives working together as a team. Our current situation is not normal or healthy on a long-term basis for our midwives, and is not in the best interest of our clients.  It is not possible for us to continue to offer births at HHCC unless all of our midwives hold privileges.  If, for example, a midwife with privileges was caring for a woman at HHCC and the labour was very long, another midwife would need to come to provide relief.  If the other midwife did not have privileges, our midwifery group would be unable to continue caring for her.  Other situations where this could happen include simultaneous births or during midwife holidays.  We wish to provide continuous and reliable care to all of our clients and cannot do this without hospital privileges for all of our midwives.
As of May 1st, 2011, until full privileges are approved for all midwives in our practice, we will not be offering maternity services at HHCC.  We will instead be offering midwifery attended births at home and at Groves Memorial Community Hospital in Fergus, where all of our midwives have privileges.  Like HHCC, Groves is a level 1 facility offering maternity services to low risk women.  There is 24/7 access to an obstetrician, cesarean sections and epidurals as well as a group of experienced doctors to tend to any newborn concerns.  Groves Hospital has been very welcoming to our clients and is just 20-30 minutes from Orangeville.
Please know that your midwives will continue to work diligently to obtain hospital privileges at Headwaters for all midwives as soon as possible.  We hope that you understand this difficult situation.  Your voice is extremely important in assisting us in our efforts.  Please fill out one of our pre-prepared letters to Headwaters Hospital, or write your own letter expressing your right to access midwife-attended births at the hospital of your choice.  You may wish to encourage your family and friends to write letters as well.  Our practice administrator will be happy to mail your letters for you free of charge.
We will keep you updated as the situation progresses.  Thank you for your assistance and understanding.

Sincerely, Midwives of Headwater Hills

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