The Victorian Greens welcome the announcement today by the Health Minister providing an additional $13 million for 175 more midwives across Victoria, and more funding for the Royal Women’s hospital for supporting babies with higher needs.

The announcement comes after pressure from a campaign spear-headed by Greens MP Ellen Sandell, whose office has been inundated with stories from mums and midwives detailing the impact of lack of beds and staff.

Over 3000 people signed up to the campaign for more funding for maternity services, and over 300 midwives and mums shared their stories of how lack of beds and staff have directly affected them in birthing,

Ellen has questioned the Minister in Parliament about this, and the stories she received resulted in front page articles and hundreds of women contacting their local MPs.

The Minister’s reference to an unexpected baby boom is a little strange. Surely any ‘baby boom’ should have been anticipated by the government given women usually book in to have a baby many months in advance, and don’t just grow a baby overnight.

The maternity health sector continues to face serious challenges with a severe lack of beds and staff meaning women are giving birth in emergency rooms, being discharged after just hours in hospital, after just 2 nights after a caesarean section, and rates of return with infection have significantly increased. We hope this extra funding is just the first step.

There continues to be a lack of beds in maternity hospitals and more funding is needed to support evidence-based programs such as more funding for midwifery 1:1 caseload care and publicly funded home birth, to ensure all birthing people receive the care they deserve and hospitals have the capacity to look after the women and babies who need it most.

Quotes to be attributed to Ellen Sandell, Deputy Leader of the Victorian Greens:

“This year our public maternity services has been in crisis. I’m glad the Victorian Government is finally responding, after so many midwives, mums and the Greens have raised the alarm.”

My office has been inundated with stories from midwives and mums about lack of beds and staff in maternity hospitals across Victoria. Some of the stories are harrowing: with serious conditions being overlooked, many women giving birth in emergency rooms, labouring in public waiting rooms, and being sent home early leading to infections, mastitis and more.

“I welcome the government's response to our campaign with this additional much-needed funding for additional midwives and extra funding for the Royal Women’s hospital.

“The maternity health sector continues to face challenges and we hope this extra funding is just the first step.

“More funding for evidence-based services like more midwifery 1:1 caseload care is needed to ensure hospitals can focus on better care to those who need it most and give all people the care they deserve when having a baby.

“Our maternity services need to be funded across the board to ensure the best care in pregnancy and birth for everyone.”