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Taranaki DHB reassures community that maternity services are

Media Release

October 7, 2016

Taranaki DHB reassures community that maternity services are robust

Taranaki DHB is endorsing the move by Ministry of Health, New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM) and Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) to reassure the Taranaki community that maternity services in this region are robust.

Questions have been raised about the safety of care following recent research looking at differences in outcomes for babies with midwifery-led care compared to those with medical-led care. The study states that differences in outcomes for babies with midwife-led care compared to those with medical-led care equate to about 5 per 1000 babies with a low Apgar score, and 3½ per 1000 for hypoxia/birth asphyxia and neonatal encephalopathy.

Ministry of Health concurs these numbers are reassuringly small, but has referred the study and its findings to the National Maternity Monitoring Group for further investigation.

The Chair of the New Zealand Committee of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, Dr Ian Page, says, “We need to keep the findings of this latest study in perspective, and remember that starting a pregnancy with a midwife as Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) does not mean an obstetrician can not be involved during the pregnancy if required.”

Taranaki DHB wants to inform women who are pregnant, or planning to be, that the maternity system here is safe. Taranaki DHB’s Associate Director of Midwifery, Belinda Chapman, says “The New Zealand Maternity Model allows women in Taranaki to choose a lead maternity carer and have free access to a midwife, GP and public obstetric and paediatric specialist services.”

“Midwives in Taranaki refer to our obstetric or paediatric specialists if complexities develop in the pregnancy, labour or early post natal period. We work together in the best interests of our women, babies and families/whanau.”

“The midwife can still continue midwifery education and care after she has referred or transferred care to a specialist, while the specialist takes responsibility of the on going care planning and specialist treatment.”

The Ministry reinforces that there are measures in place to monitor outcomes, including local maternity quality and safety programmes which have been operating in all District Health Boards since 2012.

Taranaki DHB and the Ministry are focused on ensuring that what is already a world class maternity system continues to improve.

ENDS


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