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Midwife Shortage a Major Concern

Media release to health reporters/press officers

From: Dr Don Simmers, Deputy Chairman New Zealand Medical Association
Date: 8 August 2005
Subject: Midwife Shortage a Major Concern

Midwife Shortage a Major Concern

The shortage of midwives, highlighted in a TV One news item yesterday, is a major concern says the New Zealand Medical Association.

“With general practitioners unable to claim for maternity visits beyond the first thirteen weeks of a woman's pregnancy, many women are now being denied access to adequate maternity care during one of the most critical periods in their pregnancy - and this is not good enough for a first world health system,” says NZMA maternity spokesman Dr Don Simmers.

“Instead of talking to their antenatal health care professional about issues such as fetal and maternal screening, pregnant women are consuming time and anxiety scrambling around looking for a Lead Maternity Care midwife.”

“The situation is made even worse by the inflexible attitude of bureaucracy towards the funding of the routine 18 week scan. If a woman is not registered with an LMC before the scan is due she will either have to pay the full cost of scan (~$120) or simply go without. This serious anomaly could be corrected tomorrow if GPs were able to order these scans."

“The Government needs to now formally integrate primary maternity services within primary health care. The advantages of doing so are perfectly obvious and for some time now the NZMA has been pressing the Ministry on this issue."

"The midwife shortage makes it necessary for the Ministry to act now."


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