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Women’s voices recognised in maternity survey

12 May 2008

PRESS RELEASE

Women’s voices recognised in maternity satisfaction survey

The New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM) welcomes the women’s voices represented in the recently released Maternity Services Consumer Satisfaction Survey.

“The report should reassure women and families about the maternity services. It is pleasing to see improvements in many aspects of the service since the last survey despite some challenging working conditions for midwives and an unpredicted rise in the birth rate in the year surveyed,” says NZCOM chief executive Karen Guilliland.

“Midwives have worked extremely hard in order to be able to provide the standard of care women and their families expect”

The survey identified that these challenges have impacted on some women’s ability to always find an LMC and/or resulted in them having to leave hospital before they were ready.

The overall picture of maternity services in New Zealand, however, was very positive. The survey reports that 96% of women were satisfied with their antenatal care, 94% felt well cared for during labour and birth, 97% were satisfied with their home birth, 92% birthed in a facility of their choice, 90% were satisfied with the number of postnatal home visits, 94% of families had chosen their well child provider by one month and 96% of babies had their six week baby check by their general practitioner.

“The areas in which women were unhappy and where the maternity services require more attention remain similar to previous surveys,” says Karen Guilliland. “Staffing shortages, over crowding, conflicting breastfeeding advice, and the unexpected financial cost of pregnancy related services all need to be addressed by the DHBs with more vigour,” she says.

This is the third consumer survey to confirm the existing model of care is wanted and welcomed by the majority of women and their families. This contrasts significantly with the 2008 United Kingdom maternity consumer survey which found UK maternity care failed one third of women.

Comparable examples are in the area of pain relief and one on one care in labour. In the UK 37% complained of lack of access to the level of pain relief they needed while in this country 5% of women felt their pain relief to be inadequate. In New Zealand 94% of women had both an LMC or back up they knew at their birth and were satisfied with the care they received. This compares with only 69% of British women feeling satisfied with their labour care and equates to 31% of British women being left alone in labour - something New Zealand women would find hard to accept.

ends

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