The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:12): My question is directed to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Will the minister update the council on the contribution of midwives in South Australian hospitals?
The Hon. S.G. WADE (Minister for Health and Wellbeing) (15:12): I thank the honourable member for his question. Sunday, 5 May was International Midwives Day, celebrating the contribution of midwives to public health across the world. The theme for this year's International Day of the Midwife is Midwives: Defenders of Women's Rights. It highlights the vital role that midwives play and the wonderful work they do to ensure that the women they are supporting have a positive birth experience.
South Australia's midwives have received very public recognition as recently as last Friday night, 10 May, at the 2019 South Australian Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards. I was pleased to be present that night and to present some awards to a group of nominees that included 23 registered midwives, a number of whom had dual registration. Of the total 20 finalists for individual awards, 11 were midwives and two were single registered midwives. This is a tribute to the importance of the profession and the contribution they make to South Australia.
The Marshall Liberal government recognises this and is supporting midwives through a variety of programs. In rural and regional areas midwives are vital to the delivery of birthing services. As part of the Marshall Liberal government's $20 million investment over four years for a Rural Health Workforce Plan, the government aims to develop collaborative programs to attract graduates and support registered nurses or midwives to undertake training to qualify for dual registration. This will be of particular benefit in areas where workforce shortages and larger distances mean the combination of roles can provide greatly improved outcomes.
The government is also investing in midwifery leadership through a nursing and midwifery leadership and management program, which is a national first. The program is designed to teach job-specific leadership skills to nurses and midwives, with 21 nurses and midwives across metropolitan and regional South Australia making up the initial cohort. The program will run over one year and will be evaluated in partnership with the University of Adelaide.
The government has also entered into partnership with the Australian Red Cross to establish a human donor milk bank. My recollection is that that was an Australian first, and I congratulate New South Wales on playing catch-up. This allows for the provision of pasteurised donor breastmilk to premature babies in the neonatal nurseries of the Women's and Children's Hospital and the nursery
of the Flinders Medical Centre. This initiative will assist our midwives in providing the best care they can for some of the smallest babies in our community.
I want to congratulate all nominees, finalists and award winners of the 2019 South Australian Nursing and Midwifery Excellence Awards and thank them for the work they do to support the delivery of health services in the state. I want to thank all the midwives of South Australia for not only the care, advocacy and support they provide to others but also for the foundation they are laying for good, lifelong health for South Australians.