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Hodgson calls for improved maternity information

Hodgson calls for improved maternity information

New Zealand has high-quality maternity services, but room for improvement remains, Health Minister Pete Hodgson said today.

The Minister's comments follow the release of a report from the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee (PMMRC), which has advised against a full review of maternity services as had been recommended by Wellington Coroner Garry Evans.

"We've had an important public discussion on the state of maternity services over the past few months," Pete Hodgson said. "Overall, I'm confident that we have high-quality maternity services in New Zealand.

"With that said, there is work to be done. In particular, it's important that we get better data on every birth and every perinatal death in New Zealand. Without that information, it will be very difficult to continuously improve the quality of maternity services."

Pete Hodgson asked the PMMRC – an advisory committee of maternity service experts – to consider the coroner's report and to recommend a course of action.

The committee's full report, released today, advises that the best use of current resources is to improve information collection and to complete reviews of midwifery training and contracting.

"The committee has been clear that a full retrospective audit of maternity services would not be a wise use of resources," Pete Hodgson said.

"The committee recommends improving our database of maternal and perinatal deaths and all births. This is an option that the government will rapidly investigate.

"The committee has also called for stronger links between midwives and other primary health services such as general practices. This is welcome support of the government's position during the current Section 88 negotiations with Lead Maternity Carers."

  • PMMRC Report (pdf)
  • MOH on PMMRC (pdf)
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