By RNZ

A petition calling for better pay and funding for community midwives has got more than 11,000 signatures in just five days.

College of Midwives chief executive Alison Eddy said midwives were fed up with being overworked and underpaid.

She said it was heartening so many New Zealanders agreed and she wanted the government to sit up and take notice.

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"What we really want is the public to demonstrate the support they have for midwives so that we can amplify the voices of midwives to the politicians.

"We've been asking for a new funding model so that we can provide the services that families need in the community more effectively than we do at the moment."

Eddy said the government must increase their resources so midwives could spend more time with mothers with the highest needs.

"For women who have complex needs, women who live in deprived circumstances they might need longer visits, they need a lot more of the care co-ordination aspects of midwifery care where there might be a lot of referrals needed to other services.

"They might need to have their visits in their own homes rather than coming into a clinic because they've got transport issues, they might have twins, they might have other complex medical conditions that need more monitoring in pregnancy.

"Currently the contract for service that midwives work under just doesn't recognise that extra work."

She said the low pay and bad conditions were putting people off becoming midwives, putting more strain on those already in the sector.

"We also want midwives to be paid fairly - fair and reasonable pay for the level of responsibility in the work that they do."

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The petition closes in March next year.

- RNZ