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National promise of support for maternity welcomed

15 October 2008

Media Release

National Party's promise of support for maternity services welcomed

"The NZ College of Midwives welcomes the National Party's continuing support of the maternity services" says Karen Guilliland, CEO.

"Post natal support of both mothers and babies at the level each family needs is the way in which we ensure families enter parenthood with confidence. The extra well child visits in the early weeks accompanied with Plunkets Parentline will be an added boost to families requiring help to adjust to parenthood," she said.

The College of Midwives is pleased to see the National Party's support for more birthing facilities closer to where families live. Publicly funded units are a vital ingredient in a quality maternity service and this view has been reflected by all parties involved in drafting the Maternity Action Plan released by the government last week. "It is very pleasing to have this sort of accord across political parties" says Karen Guilliland.

Midwives will also be pleased to see some recognition of the burden of student midwives debt although would urge the Party to extend this debt reduction further to apply to all new midwifery graduates as the profession needs considerable more support if we are to retain the midwives we have and to attract women to midwifery as a career. The College will be looking forward to discussing with the National Party the further innovations and funding for the midwifery workforce that will be needed to meet the National Party's maternity strategy.

The College is unsure how the plans for additional GP visits will be able to be implemented given the shortage of GP’s with obstetric qualifications. Currently women have free and direct access to specialist help in the public maternity services and “this generally works extremely well”, says Karen Guilliland.


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