NMBA partners with Burnet Institute to undertake midwifery workforce review

a medical consultant with two nurses walk along a hospital corridor

The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) has partnered with the Burnet Institute to conduct a comprehensive review of the midwifery workforce that will provide a map of the future supply and demand of midwives across the country.

Amid rising concerns that growth is stalling in the midwifery profession, the in-depth review of the workforce, titled Midwifery Futures, is aiming to inform the NMBA, government and the broader profession about potential regulatory, policy or other solutions to address any issues identified. Worryingly, there are fewer midwives on the national register than five years ago, and only marginal growth of graduate numbers from midwifery programs.

Professor Caroline Homer

Professor Caroline Homer and her team from the Burnet Institute, University of Technology Sydney, Curtin University and the WA Child and Adolescent Health Service, will engage with midwives, education providers, professional bodies, governments, regulators and the public the examine the current state of the midwifery workforce from a range of perspectives.

Midwifery Futures will undertake a literate review, analysis and wide consultation with stakeholders before a final report is tabled mid-2024. It will include a review of the Registration standard: Endorsement for Scheduled Medicines, and is expected to provide a map of the future supply and demand of midwives in Australia, with a series of recommendations to inform the NMBA, government, employers and education providers.

“Midwifery is at a very important point and how we react in the next decade will be critical,” Professor Homer said.

“We are really looking forward to being able to provide evidence that could guide future decisions. It’s an exciting time.”

NMBA Chair Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey said the workforce review could have a major impact for the Australian public.

“Women and families experience better outcomes when midwives are involved in their care and we want to ensure that the profession can grow to safely support the Australian public needs across all geographical and socio-economic backgrounds for future generations,” she said.

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