All 95 midwives which provide in-home service to parents and their newborns are on strike as of today, Vísir reports. They have been working without a contract since February. Midwives employed in hospitals continue to work.
Ellen Bára Valgerðardóttir is one of the midwives on strike. She says midwives who provide in-home services have been working without a contract since February. “We negotiated a raise with Icelandic Health Insurance with was approved before Easter. The contract was sent in to the Ministry [of Health] for approval where it still lies and nothing has been heard from them. We have been working without a contract since February and therefore can stop working when we like,” Ellen stated.
“This is unfortunately horribly sad that it has to go this way. But we have to do something to raise awareness of this because this is very good service and cheap for the state since we get ISK 4,394 per hour.”
Parents of newborns have a right to five to seven home visits from a midwife following birth. The visiting midwives provide a range of services, including assistance with breast feeding, as well as monitoring mothers’ and babies’ health. “There is a lot we do in home care which would otherwise be done at the hospital, which would therefore be much more costly,” remarked Ellen.
Minister of Health Svandís Svavarsdóttir stated the midwives’ actions had taken her by surprise, and that she had first learned of their plan to strike from media yesterday.