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GP’s Study Seriously Flawed


Media Statement

October 21st 2015

GP’s Study Seriously Flawed

The New Zealand College of Midwives is disappointed at the poor data quality and flawed methodology used in a study on maternity outcomes, out today.

The College says Dr Beverley Lawton has used incorrect and dated data combined with questionable assumptions so there is little of the paper on which anyone can usefully rely.

“Dr Lawton has mixed up information. For example, this study assumes the midwife initially registered to work alongside a woman is the same midwife with the woman at the birth and that is not correct. As a pregnancy progresses and risk factors are recognised by midwives, women are referred or transferred to hospitals and the caregiver can change” says NZCOM Chief Executive Karen Guilliland.

Ms Guilliland adds that the data used in this study is up to 10 years old, covering 2005-2009 and since then the rate of baby deaths during labour has significantly reduced. In 2015 it is now at an all-time low.¹

“This improvement has occurred during a time when the number of midwife-only LMC midwives has markedly increased and the number of doctors providing LMC care has decreased. Clearly the presence of highly educated midwives has improved the birth outcomes for babies. This is in contrast to the misguided claims made by Dr Lawton’s study,” says Ms Guilliland.

She adds that Dr Lawton’s publishers appear not to know how the maternity system works in New Zealand otherwise peer reviewers would have pointed out the numerous flaws in its research methodology and analysis.

“Furthermore no test in the study reached statistical significance, meaning any outcome referred to is one of chance only. It is irresponsible to imply otherwise so it is highly disappointing to see research misused in this way as it can unjustifiably increase women’s fears and perpetuate false perceptions of what is a world leading maternity service,” says Karen Guilliland.

The College encourages and applauds research into issues related to maternity and midwifery-led services however says the research must stand up to scrutiny and be based on correct methodology and up to date data.

¹ PMMRC 2015 Report (pg 3)


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