The situation at Iceland’s National and University Hospital is becoming increasingly difficult to manage in the wake of the recent spate of midwife resignations, RÚV reports. Facing a staffing shortage, the hospital tried to get midwives to return early from their vacations but were unable to do so.
Iceland’s midwives have been involved in a ten-month wage dispute with the government that has seen many of these professionals resign from their positions. Over the course of negotiations, over twenty midwives resigned from their positions at the National and University Hospital and none of these individuals have since withdrawn their resignations. Katrín Sif Sigurgeirsdóttir, the chairwoman of the midwives contract committee, says that it is not unlikely that more will resign in the wake of this new setback. The first 19 resignations took effect on July 1, and will be followed by more on August 1. A contract was recently on the table, but was voted down by a landslide.
As a result, says Linda Kristmundsdóttir, head of the Women’s and Children’s department, many women giving birth in the hospital are being sent home earlier than usual. Others are being referred to hospitals elsewhere in the country, such as Akureyri. And it has even been necessary, Linda said, to put some of those who are admitted to the National Hospital in Reykjavík in wards other than Maternity.