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Ministers welcome review of maternity services

Hon David Cunliffe
Minister of Health

Hon Steve Chadwick
Associate Minister of Health

1 July 2008 Media Statement

Ministers welcome review of Wellington area maternity services

Minister of Health David Cunliffe and Associate Minister of Health Steve Chadwick today welcomed a review of maternity services in Wellington.

The review, to be conducted by an independent panel of expert advisors, will focus on the relationship between Capital and Coast DHB and referring providers, and will report to the Director General of Health.

Mr Cunliffe said the decision to hold a review follows a recent case where CCDHB ability to investigate the actions of an individual midwife were limited, because they were not the midwife’s employer.

Mr Cunliffe has also called for a sentinel event report into the case to be fast-tracked, and delivered to him and the review panel as a matter of urgency.

“There needs to be clarity around the roles and responsibilities of those involved in maternity services in order to ensure women and their children are receiving the best possible care.”

“We want to reassure women that services are being looked at and if necessary improvements will be made,” Mrs Chadwick said.

Mrs Chadwick said considerable work was happening at a national level on the future direction of maternity services in New Zealand.

Any recommendations made by the review panel will be considered in a national context and may be included in future policy.

Background to review
Following advice from the Ministry of Health, the Minister of Health asked the Director-General of Health to commission a clinical review of maternity services in the Capital and Coast District Health Board area. This review will take a general look at any systems issues across the range of maternity services in the Wellington area. It will not duplicate the investigations currently being carried out by the Coroner and the DHB, and potentially the Health and Disability Commissioner and/or Midwifery Council of New Zealand and/or the ACC that occur as a result of unexpected deaths.

The Ministry is concerned to:
• understand, based on evidence, the quality, safety and management of maternity services in the Wellington area
• maintain public confidence in the maternity services provided to the region
• Identify opportunities for quality improvement.


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