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No midwife positions available in Winnipeg: Manitoba Health

WINNIPEG — Many expectant moms in Winnipeg ask for a midwife but are told there aren’t enough.

It’s one reason the province says its new multimillion-dollar birthing centre operates far below capacity.

But a Freedom of Information Request made by Global News found there are no full-time midwife jobs available in Winnipeg.

“If there are no vacancies then why aren’t people able to successfully get the services of a midwife?” said provincial Progressive Conservative health critic Cameron Friesen.

There are currently 25 midwives in Winnipeg. The College of Midwives said 200 are needed to fill the demand. Roughly 75 per cent of women get refused the service and few babies are born at the birthing centre.

It was expected to see 500 deliveries a year, but it will only reach 140 births this year.

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The province only funds 28 midwife positions in Winnipeg. Manitoba Health Minister Erin Selby said she wants more midwives working in Manitoba but wouldn’t commit to adding more positions.

Meantime the only school that trains midwives in Manitoba has received more than 400 applications but has only enough provincial funding for eight students.

“The government will have to decide where it wants to put its health-care dollars,” said Linda Ross, director of the midwifery program at the University College of the North. “If they want to create more midwifery positions, certainly the demand is out there.”