close Icon

Burnet joins 'Midwifery Futures' workforce review

  • 21 Sep 2023

Led by Professor Caroline Homer AO, Burnet Institute is partnering with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) to conduct a comprehensive review of the Australian midwifery workforce to ensure the continued growth and sustainability of the profession.

Professor Homer and colleagues Dr Kirsten Small (Burnet), Professors Joanne Gray, Kathleen Baird and Jennifer Fenwick (UTS), Dr Zoe Bradfield (Curtin University) and Melanie Robinson (WA Child and Adolescent Health Service) will conduct a detailed analysis of Australia's midwifery workforce including stakeholder engagement and consultation with support from Andrea Nove and Martin Boyce (Novametrics UK).

Due in mid-2024, the Midwifery Futures report will deliver a projection of workforce supply and demand in Australia, a synthesis of the information gained throughout the analysis, literature review and consultation, and recommendations for the sustainability of the profession.

“Our team is really delighted to be undertaking this project with NMBA,” said Professor Homer, Burnet Deputy Director (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion), one of Australia’s leading midwifery researchers, and a leader in maternal and newborn health care and service delivery.  

“Midwifery is at a very important point, and the next decade will be critical. We are looking forward to being able to provide some of the evidence to guide future decisions. It’s an exciting time.” 

The review comes amid concerns that growth is stalling in the midwifery profession. 

Despite a growing Australian population, there are fewer midwives on the national register than there was five years ago and only marginal growth of graduate numbers from midwifery programs.

In that time, the ratio of midwives per 100,000 head of population has dropped by almost four percent.

The analysis will inform a review of the Registration standard: Endorsement for Scheduled Medicines for Midwives to ensure it aligns with current public and practitioner regulatory expectations. 

“The NMBA is proud to be working so closely with the Burnet Institute team to deliver such an important piece of work,” said NMBA Chair Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey AM.

“Our aim for this project is to enable the continuous development of a flexible, responsive and sustainable Australian midwifery workforce that can meet the needs of women and their families.”

Find out more about Burnet's Global Women's and Newborn's Health Group.