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Maternity services audit vital

Maternity services audit vital

05 July 2006 - 09:47 - Hon Tony Ryall

The Government's proposal on maternity services funding is yet another patch-up job, says National's Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

"These proposals will do little to fix the real problems that underlie public concern about maternity services. The Government is failing to deal with what is actually worrying people," says Mr Ryall.

He is commenting on the Government's announcement that it is reviewing the section 88 maternity notice, which controls how maternity services are paid. A 12-week consultation period has begun.

"There should be a proper independent audit of maternity services. The Government needs to fully understand what is going on before any changes are contemplated.

"An independent audit, with wide terms of reference, would lay a solid platform for change. It would allow the Government to identify weaknesses that have caused so much concern, such as the Wellington Coroner's review of two baby deaths and the Health and Disability Commissioner's criticism of hospital birthing protocols.

"It's all very well for the Government to say New Zealand's maternity services are the envy of the world. If they are then why are they looking at changing them?

"The rhetoric doesn't match the reality.

"For the sake of Kiwi mums and babes, Labour should be doing the job properly rather than trying to diffuse public concern with a sloppy internal job.

"Maternity services need stronger links at the primary care level with midwives and GPs working more closely together. Mums should be seeing more of their doctor during and after pregnancy.

"Under Labour, continuity of care is falling by the wayside. National wants it strengthened, not weakened," says Mr Ryall.


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