Hamburg will become one of the first German states to introduce third-level midwifery courses when the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hamburg and the Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW) Hamburg launch a joint, cross-university midwifery course at the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) from the winter term 2020/2021. The move aims to counteract the shortage of midwives. Only 24,000 midwives cared for a total of 784,901 births across Germany in 2017, according to the German Midwives’ Association. The costs of EUR 3.75 million annually are to be covered by the Ministry for Science, Research and Equality (BWFG). The dual course of studies will link the latest scientific and practical aspects of the profession over seven terms.
Hamburg as a pioneer
“HAW Hamburg and the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Hamburg will jointly offer the Bachelor’s programme at UKE. This inter-university co-operation is unique in Germany,” according to Katharina Fegebank, Senator for Science, Research and Equality. The course will cover the entire care phase – from family planning to the first year of the child’s life. The scientific instruction will take place at HAW Hamburg and UKE. The practical part will cover almost half of the study period and will be completed in teaching hospitals or birth centres. The new course will provide 60 places initially and 180 from 2023.
The new midwifery courses will be financed based on a dual funding model. The costs of the practical part of the course and student remuneration will be covered according to the Hospital Financing Act, i.e. mainly by statutory and private health insurers. The costs incurred by the universities will be borne by the German states. This comes against the backdrop of an EU directive that foresees the academization of midwifery training. In late September 2019, the German government and the Bundesrat passed a law providing for the introduction of dual studies and student remuneration to make the profession more academic and attractive. Eligibility for the course is based on a 12-year general school education or a successfully completed vocational training in health and nursing.