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Council relieved midwife found not guilty

Media Statement 21 March 2006

The Midwifery Council of New Zealand is relieved a Dunedin jury has found the midwife accused of manslaughter, not guilty.

"We are pleased for both the family and the midwife that a verdict of not guilty has been reached.'' says the MCNZ chair. Sally Pairman.

"We are concerned, however that this case was tried through a criminal court when there are already effective and robust professional processes in place to investigate alleged breaches of ethics and poor practice, including the Health and Disability Commissioner and the Midwifery Council'' she says.

The Midwifery Council of New Zealand acts in a statutory role in order to ensure that the New Zealand maternity system continues to be one of the safest and most accessible health services in the world. It does this through seeing and monitoring the standards for midwifery competence and ensuring that midwives work within a comprehensive professional framework in the provision of safe care.

Sally Pairman says pregnancy and childbirth is a normal physiological event, however that does not mean it is without any risk.

''In our risk averse society we have developed a culture that believes health professionals and associated health technology are able to remove all the possible risks. That is simply not true. Women need to be assured that our system gets it right most of the time and encouraged to provide feedback to improve the outcomes for all," she says.

ENDS

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