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Hospital midwives given new status

Strike action will continue after minister of health announces new status for midwives working in French hospitals

AFTER five months of protests, hospital midwives in France have been accorded independent status, minister of health Marisol Touraine has announced.

“The skills of midwives will now be identified and unambiguously recognised,” she said.

But the decision has not pleased some midwifery unions, who want their role to be recognised at the same level as doctors and dentists.

An hour after the announcement, the collective of midwives announced that it would continue its strike action, which started in October.

The status of midwives in French hospitals has caused conflict for some time. Until now, and despite having completed medical training up to a BAC+5 level, midwives were regarded alongside nurses and paramedics.

The new status “will recognise the character of the medical profession of midwifery in public hospitals,” Mme Touraine said.

As well as creating the medical status for midwives, Mme Touraine announced four other measures.

Midwives will take on new responsibilities for the care of new mothers and their babies in hospitals, while training will be improved and the question of pay will be discussed during consultations to start in April.

Midwives’ representation on hospital committees will be strengthened, and an awareness campaign will promote the role of the midwives among the wider medical profession.

During training, student midwives in their fourth and fifth years, will be paid at the same level as student doctors.

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