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Nats offer pale imitation for maternity

Hon Steve Chadwick
Associate Minister of Health

14 October 2008 Media Statement
Nats offer pale imitation for maternity

Associate Health Minister Steve Chadwick today said National's maternity policy is a pale imitation of Labour's ongoing work to improve maternity services.

“The policy released today reads like a page out of Labour’s plan for maternity services announced just last week,” Steve Chadwick said.

Labour released both an immediate set of initiatives to improve the quality and quantity of maternity care available, and unveiled a long term plan for the sector.

The package of immediate steps to boost the midwifery workforce included:

• up to 80 new places for first year midwifery students beginning from next year

• $1.5 million for ongoing post-graduate training to support retention of midwives

• financial support for overseas trained midwives to meet their registration requirements

This package follows an $11.4 million increase last year to increase self-employed midwives’ pay.

“Labour has already committed to concrete improvements to the midwifery workforce, including training more, retaining more, and paying more. This comes in addition to 3000 extra nurses and an extra 1000 doctors since 1999.

“National’s proposals for greater continuity of care and greater collaboration across professions and regions come straight out of the draft Maternity Action Plan released last week.

“In addition, we welcome National’s support of the already successful WellChild programme. In the last seven years this government has increased Plunket’s funding by 90.5 per cent. This year we have increased the number of WellChild visits available to high needs families, and we continue to fund a 24 hour Well Child phone service.

“However, National’s commitment to “greater choice in birthing units” is little more than a Trojan horse for moving more money out of the public health system, into the private. Clearly National still can’t be trusted to safeguard public health,” Steve Chadwick concluded.


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