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Winnipeg Birth Centre numbers still 60% below target level

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Winnipeg Birth Centre numbers still 60% below target level
Winnipeg Birth Centre numbers still 60% below target level – Dec 19, 2016

WINNIPEG — It’s been open for five years, and Winnipeg’s multi-million dollar Birth Centre is no where close to reaching its targets.

The $3.5 million facility, with $2.6 million in annual operating costs, is still well under its capacity of 500 births a year, according to statistics.

Data provided by the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA) shows when the centre opened in 2011, there were six births. Since then, the numbers have increased each year, but minimally.

As of Dec. 11 there have been just 184 births in 2016, or just 36 per cent of its intended target.

“When people talk about the Birth Centre not meeting its targets I think it’s unfortunate,” said Trina Larsen, the director of maternal health and wellness. “It’s unfortunate that the messaging about a particular target, which is really about facility capacity, is tied to service expectations.”

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Births per year:

2011                                  6
2012                               120
2013                               126
2014                               149
2015                               154

The centre has struggled with a shortage of midwives since opening. A problem that continues to plague the facility today.

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“The physical capacity of the Birth Centre could potentially accommodate up to 500 deliveries per year and the number of Birth Centre births continues to rise every year,” said Margaret Kozlowski, WRHA Director of Primary Care. “However, the number of midwives in Winnipeg limits the number of Birth Centre births that are possible.”

WATCH: Midwives picket in front of the Birth Centre to raise awareness of the state of the industry in Manitoba

Click to play video: 'Winnipeg midwives picket in front of Birth Centre'
Winnipeg midwives picket in front of Birth Centre

RELATED: Winnipeg midwives picket in front of Birth Centre

According to the association that represents midwives there are 54 working within Manitoba and 30 who work within the WRHA. There are currently 14 midwives who work primarily out of the Birth Centre.

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“In Winnipeg, certainly there are more people who want midwifery care then we are able to accommodate,” said Larsen. “If people don’t have a midwife they can’t choose the Centre as a place of birth.”

RELATED: No midwife positions available in Winnipeg: Manitoba Health

Previously, the College of Midwives said 200 spots are needed to fill the demand. As for students currently enrolled in the training program, there are just 13.

Right now there are 3.8 midwifery positions vacant within the WRHA.

The WRHA told Global News 40 per cent of women who want a midwife are not able to secure one.

WATCH: Birthing centre still falling short of usage goals

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