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NZCOM welcomes extra funding for postnatal care

20 May 2009
Media Release

NZCOM welcomes extra funding for postnatal care

The New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM) welcomes the government’s announcement that it will spend an extra $103.5 million on maternity services over the next four years. This is the first time such a comprehensive funding package has been put specifically around post natal care. It is essential in today’s world to give new parents and their newborn the best start in life and mothers and fathers will welcome the increased support the funding represents.

“Whilst the extra funding is primarily directed at District Health Boards (DHB’s)and retraining for general practitioners we trust that the extra funds will create a positive ripple across the maternity system as a whole”, says Karen Guilliland, New Zealand College of Midwives, CEO.

“Some regional DHB’s still face the difficulty of staffing shortages for both midwives and obstetricians coupled with a shortage of beds “ says Karen, ”It is important therefore that the funds need to be used wisely. This will mean updating or establishing more community based maternity units and encouraging women to use them. It also means continued and increasing support for the midwifery workforce who provides the care for the vast majority of women both as LMCs and in maternity hospitals” she said.

The recent announcement by Statistics New Zealand highlights the high birth rate over the last few years and provides rationale for this injection of funding. It also provides further evidence of the success of the current system. In an environment of increasing fertility and birth rates and stretched resources we have still improved outcomes for babies. The infant mortality rate has dropped over the last 40 years and in March 2009 was 4.7 per 1000, down from 5.7 in the March 1999 year. This is something we should be celebrating and supporting. Equally we must ensure that any funding changes support the Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) and midwifery systems to ensure we maintain these positive results.”

“The current maternity system is safe, effective and works well and these extra funds will enhance our maternity services. The recent announcement in the Australian budget, to enable midwifery led models of care, is further evidence we are on the right path for mothers and babies. Australia has followed New Zealand’s lead in offering a continuity of care maternity model for women, a reform American and British women are also striving for.”

The NZ College of Midwives looks forward to working with the government to ensure the extra funding is well spent.” Karen Guilliland concludes.

ENDS

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