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MATPRO Encouraged by Health Minister’s Endorsement

Media Release: Wellington Maternity Project (MATPRO) Friday 9 March 2001

“New Zealand can build upon the good parts of the current maternity system, but should try to improve the aspects which aren’t working,” said Cathy O’Malley, the Chief Executive of the Wellington Maternity Project (MATPRO) today. “The current system can and should be improved to address the areas which are not satisfactory, but it ought not be thrown out holus bolus.”

Ms O’Malley was responding to this morning’s debate about maternity services, in which the NZ Medical Association, the NZ College of Midwives and the Minister of Health put different views about the effectiveness and safety of New Zealand’s maternity system. Medical groups are concerned that the current funding system inherently pitches midwives and doctors against each other, to the detriment of women and babies.

“Mrs King acknowledged that MATPRO is an organisation which has taken aspects of the national Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) system, and has adapted them to make them work well in the local setting. We have proved that, with appropriate flexibility and funding, positive relationships between midwives and doctors can be nurtured rather than destroyed.”

“We are fortunate to have had this opportunity as we are one of a small number of groups who have had some latitude to do things differently. Some aspects of New Zealand’s national maternity system tend to encourage confrontation between professional groups, but if the government can be flexible about contractual arrangements, whilst maintaining consistency in the services, it is possible to make the LMC system work to the benefit of mothers and babies” said Ms O’Malley.


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