Midwifery audit: Here are the preliminary results

Published: 29 May 2023

We’ve been busy crunching the data from the recent QNMU midwifery audit and can now reveal some interim results with you. As expected, the results confirm what midwives already know: untenable workloads in midwifery continue, and things need to change now. 
Thank you to all midwives who participated in the audit – gathering data that captures your work is a vital step to building the evidence we need to demonstrate why midwifery ratios are critical.
Here’s a snapshot of what the May 2023 audit showed:

  • 27% of midwives reported handing over 4 and up to 8 babies each to the next midwife – that’s 8 to 16 people each midwife was responsible for.
  • 4% of midwives reported handing over 9 or more babies each to the next midwife.
  • 1% of midwives reported they had more than 9 unqualified (unfunded) babies in their care. 

These findings are even more concerning when the acuity of the workload is also considered. 
Disturbingly, the audit found that only 8% of midwives from our 2022 and 2023 audits felt the women and babies in their care were low acuity:

What this data tells us is that the work environment remains virtually unchanged for midwives since our 2022 audit. 
These are just the preliminary findings – we'll publish the full results from the audit in the coming months. We have already contacted the new Health Minister the Hon. Shannon Fentiman to share the initial audit findings given the urgent need to fix unsustainable and unsafe midwifery workloads. 
Midwifery services are ultimately the State Government’s responsibility and the next step is to ensure everyone in the community is aware of the situation members, women and babies and families face in midwifery wards. 
However, the one thing that has remained clear throughout both audits is that midwives are passionate about what we do. Keeping women and babies safe is what drives us, and it’s what will continue to drive us to secure the outcomes we want to see. 
These preliminary results may be shocking to some, but not to those of us who live it every day. They simply reinforce why we’re pursuing changes in midwifery – including minimum ratios and a better funding model that ensures every baby is counted. 
Visit www.qnmu.org.au/CountTheBabies for more information on our campaign. 
If you are a midwife and want to join the QNMU Midwifery Reference Group, please contact Belinda Maier, QNMU Strategic Midwifery Policy and Research Officer, via email at [email protected]
Thanks for again for your valuable contribution in ensuring midwifery voices are heard.