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More Deaths and Injuries Predicted

22-8-11 Action to Improve Maternity (AIM) – www.aim.org.nz

More Deaths and Injuries Predicted

The maternity consumer network AIM has called into question the referral guidelines recently released by the Health Ministry, as being potentially unsafe and dangerous. These referral guidelines indicate when Lead Maternity Carers (primarily midwives) should consult with other health professionals.

Whilst AIM appreciates much effort has gone into the carefully altered wording for the clarity and ease of practitioners, AIM predicts continued needless deaths and injuries given the evident safety inadequacies in these guidelines. The network is also concerned that these are merely guidelines and not minimum standards with legal effect – current legislation affords more protection to animals and greater penalties to their owners.

Specific concerns are around the following scenarios: A haemorrhaging new mother who has lost over half a litre of blood with ongoing bleeding is not, by these guidelines, regarded as an emergency situation, yet women have died in exactly this circumstance.

A newborn baby with breathing difficulties such as rapid breathing, stridor, respiratory distress, cyanosis or even apnoea (a non--breathing episode) is not regarded as an emergency situation. In these very dangerous, often critical situations lives have been lost or forever damaged when specialist help has not been promptly involved.

Injuries to newborns from the birthing process are also not deemed to need the urgent and immediate attention of a paediatrician.

We urge the Honorable Tony Ryall, Minister of Health and other relevant officials, to reconsider these guidelines in order to prevent the inevitable preventable tragedies that will otherwise occur.

AIM is a Registered Charitable Trust comprised of around 500 families plus a substantial supportive network of other concerned stakeholders who believe that the current NZ maternity system needs improvement. More information is on the website
www.aim.org.nz

ENDS

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