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Maternity Services Review Supported by Association

MEDIA RELEASE

Review of Maternity Services Supported by Medical Association

The New Zealand Medical Association supports recommendations made in a Wellington Coroner’s Court report, issued today, including that steps be taken to re-integrate general medical and GP obstetrics services into the NZ Maternity Services Scheme.

“All women should have access to both the midwifery and medical care they may need during their pregnancy,” says NZMA Maternity Spokesman Dr Don Simmers.

“We feel deeply for these families who have each lost a baby, and for the midwives involved in their care who must be devastated by the outcomes. In both cases it seems that it was recognised too late that what was believed to be a normal labour was in fact a breech presentation.”

“We fully support the coroner’s recommendation that the NZ Maternity Services Scheme be the subject of an early independent review along with the present scheme of midwifery education and training.”

Dr Simmers says that there are major issues facing maternity services in New Zealand including workforce shortages.

The Coroner’s report states that midwives are becoming increasingly the sole providers of maternity services to women with increasing exposure to medical and obstetrical complications.

Dr Simmers says: “What we need is a service delivery model in which midwifery services are integrated with medical services so they can complement each other in the interests of the patient. Both cases illustrate the need for a team care approach."

The New Zealand Medical Association has proposed changes to maternity services that would facilitate team care in a recent paper submitted to the Ministry of Health.

ENDS

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