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Ryall and Hutchinson at odds on maternity review

Hon Pete Hodgson
Minister of Health

20 March 2006 Media Statement

Ryall and Hutchinson at odds on maternity review

Tony Ryall's call for a review of maternity services puts him offside with his caucus colleague – and Parliament's only obstetrician – Dr Paul Hutchinson.

Health Minister Pete Hodgson said that a review of maternity services, while politically convenient, would only serve to delay the real improvements currently being developed by maternity professionals.

"It would be easy for all involved – including me – to call for a review and take some of the political heat out of the maternity issue," Pete Hodgson said. "But while it would be easy, it would also be counter-productive.

"The Ministry of Health is currently leading very constructive talks with the professional bodies involved in maternity services, including midwives, doctors and nurses.

"The talks are focused on achieving real improvements in maternity services through better coordination between Lead Maternity Care and hospital services.

"The Ministry and the maternity sector are taking this approach because they know action is needed now – not after a drawn out review process. What's more is that Paul Hutchinson agrees that we're on the right path."

In last month's North and South, Paul Hutchinson said:

"We don't need another review. We should just get on and [reinstate teamwork]. And like most commentators, I've got every admiration for the majority of midwives. I've delivered thousands of babies with them over the years."

Pete Hodgson said Tony Ryall should consult with his predecessor as the National Party Health Spokesman before making any further comments on maternity services.

"Paul Hutchinson knows a thing or two about maternity care and he knows that the government's work to encourage teamwork is what's required now."


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