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U of M scrambling to re-launch midwifery program

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>UCN hopes the midwifery program will be offered in September on the University of Manitoba campus.</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

UCN hopes the midwifery program will be offered in September on the University of Manitoba campus.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/8/2016 (1110 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The University of Manitoba is trying to hire a midwifery instructor to start work a month from now and is negotiating with the Ontario Midwifery Education Program to deliver training at the Fort Garry campus.

It's the latest twist in the ongoing saga of a University College of the North midwifery degree program that has produced nine graduates since 2006 at a cost of more than $8 million to the province.

And it's even more bizarre — senior staff of Education Minister Ian Wishart, the Opposition NDP, and even the U of M communications staff were all unaware Tuesday afternoon of the new developments.

In an email to Manitoba midwives sent out late last week, U of M nursing professor and director of midwifery Prof. Kellie Thiessen advised: "We are pleased to announce that formal negotiations have been confirmed with Ontario MEP, to accommodate the Manitoba midwifery students.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 2/8/2016 (1110 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The University of Manitoba is trying to hire a midwifery instructor to start work a month from now and is negotiating with the Ontario Midwifery Education Program to deliver training at the Fort Garry campus.

It's the latest twist in the ongoing saga of a University College of the North midwifery degree program that has produced nine graduates since 2006 at a cost of more than $8 million to the province.

And it's even more bizarre — senior staff of Education Minister Ian Wishart, the Opposition NDP, and even the U of M communications staff were all unaware Tuesday afternoon of the new developments.

In an email to Manitoba midwives sent out late last week, U of M nursing professor and director of midwifery Prof. Kellie Thiessen advised: "We are pleased to announce that formal negotiations have been confirmed with Ontario MEP, to accommodate the Manitoba midwifery students.

"We will continue to work with Ontario to ensure the Manitoba students can continue on in their midwifery education trajectory. We have negotiated a partnership that will allow these students to complete their didactic courses in fall 2016 and then continue on in all required clinical placements (in Manitoba), commencing winter 2017.

"We will continue to work at a long-term sustainable midwifery education program for the province, ensuring access to midwifery care for all women, in all geographical regions of Manitoba. We will update the midwifery profession as details become known," said Thiessen.

Meanwhile, the university's human resources office posted a job July 28 for the immediate hiring of a midwifery instructor to work from next month through the end of term Dec. 16. Details are at http://wfp.to/e9D.

Thiessen did not respond to interview requests Tuesday.

It was not clear what the developments mean for 14 University College of the North midwifery students who completed the first year of their studies, but have been in limbo since June, when the province announced the existing program would not continue.

The 14 women entered the UCN program last September.

The plan was that they would transfer to the U of M next month to continue their studies under an expanded joint program the former NDP government instructed the two schools to establish in 2013 for classes beginning this fall.

However, the joint program would not exist until the U of M gave its approval — which didn't occur until last January — and additional annual government funding of $844,000 was in place.

The NDP was voted out of government in April without having approved the funding, and the Conservatives opted not to keep former premier Greg Selinger's financial promise until problems were sorted out with the original midwifery program.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Wishart's staff released a formal statement: "We continue to work with our post-secondary partners to ensure the midwifery students in Manitoba who have already invested significant time and effort towards their studies can complete their coursework uninterrupted.

"We are also committed to the establishment of a a long-term, sustainable solution for midwifery education in this province," said the minister's spokesman.

However, Wishart's office would not say if the minister had been aware of, or was involved in any way, with the actions that the U of M is taking.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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History

Updated on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 at 4:56 PM CDT: Adds statement

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