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Minister Still In Denial Over Maternity Services

8 March 2006

Minister Still In Denial Over Maternity Services

The Minister of Health is still in denial over the shortcomings of the maternity services available to pregnant women says New Zealand First’s health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

“The Minister’s recent response to a written question (attached) is illuminating.

“The vision of … each woman having a safe and fulfilling outcome to her pregnancy and childbirth, through provision of programmes and services that are based on partnership, information and choice … is delightfully warm and fuzzy and politically correct but unfortunately the outcomes are not as satisfactory for some new parents as they should be.

“The flaws in the present system have now led to court action. Unfortunately this is not an isolated instance. Only yesterday I received confidential information from a bereaved family of a similar tragedy.

“The time for hiding behind committees is almost up and hopefully the Minister will have something more to offer than the usual all care and no responsibility response which was such a favourite with his predecessor,” said Mrs Stewart.


Subject: 01017 (2006) Published - Health - Normal Reply

Question: Would he agree that introduction of the lead maternity care
system introduced a restrictive financial aspect into maternity care and
narrowed expectant mothers’ choices; if so, what if anything, is his
ministry doing to rectify this situation?

Portfolio: Health

Minister: Hon Pete Hodgson

Date Lodged:23/02/2006

Answer Text: The lead maternity care system introduced a restrictive
financial aspect into maternity care in the sense that:

- an authorised practitioner who is a general practitioner or midwife
shall not charge any woman for any maternity services
- payment for a module of lead maternity care can only be claimed by a
general practitioner, midwife or obstetrician who meets the requirements
of the Maternity Section 88 Notice.

The lead maternity care system has not narrowed expectant mothers'
choices. In 1990, the vision for maternity care was "each woman (and her whanau/family) has a safe and fulfilling outcome to her pregnancy and childbirth, through provision of programmes and services that are based on partnership, information and choice" (reference Department of Health (December 1990). Policy Statement on Pregnancy and Childbirth). This set of principles has been maintained.

Maternal expectations, as reported in the 2002 Ministry of Health
Maternity Satisfaction Survey, were that women have choices in the
management of their care and involvement in the decision-making.

Attachment: None

Date Received:03/03/2006


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