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Premier Dalton McGuinty makes announcement on campus to create two birthing centres in Ontario

Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews

Ontario premier Dalton McGuinty was on campus recently with Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews to announce the creation of birthing centres to provide good health-care value.

Ontario mothers will soon have more options for where to have their babies.

Premier Dalton McGuinty was at Ryerson University's Sally Horsfall Eaton Centre for Studies in Community Health Tuesday to announce that Ontario is planning to create two midwifery-led birthing centres in the province, giving low-risk women more choice for where they can deliver their babies.

The government is working closely with the Association of Ontario Midwives and the College of Ontario Midwives on a proposal that will deliver quality health care for good value.

"We want mothers to have more choices, and for them and their babies to get quality care. And we know birthing centres can provide good value for everyone, while letting hospitals focus on high-risk care," McGuinty said.

McGuinty and Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Deb Matthews met with students in the Midwifery Education Program classroom. In addition, families, pregnant women and their babies who were clients of midwifery graduates from Ryerson along with representatives from the midwifery community attended the announcement. He spoke about how birthing centres would give women more choice for where they have their babies, while helping free hospital beds to focus on high-risk births.

The proposal is part of Ontario's Action Plan for Health Care. That plan is committed to moving routine procedures out of hospitals and into the community, where evidence shows quality care and better results for patients can be achieved for good value.

"Evidence shows midwives provide quality care - excellent patient outcomes and good value for health care dollars. Midwifery care also leads to fewer medical and surgical interventions which benefits both mother and baby,” Matthews said.

Ryerson’s Midwifery Education Program is one of three offered in Ontario. Students are engaged in women’s care and start applying their midwifery education as early as the second year of the four-year program. A mix of health, social, and biological sciences, the curriculum combines academic studies with clinical and interprofessional placements affording students extensive clinical experience working with midwives and their clients.

“This announcement will have a very positive effect on our students, midwives and women,” said Mary Sharpe, director of midwifery at Ryerson. “Birthing centres are safe, cost-effective and offer another setting for normal birth and student education. Women want midwives and the demand is there to have them as their primary health-care providers throughout the pregnancy, birth and post-partum period. The research around midwifery care and birthing centres is really astounding in terms of client care, satisfaction and cost-effectiveness. We anticipate that birthing centres will also offer another venue for interprofessional collaboration.”

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