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Urgent action needed on maternity care

Hon Tony Ryall MP
National Party Health Spokesman

2 November 2005


Urgent action needed on maternity care

A serious shortage of midwives is leaving some mothers and babies without the vital support they need, says National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall.

“Here is yet another health issue the Government has not taken seriously. Only now are they waking up to the crisis facing maternity care.

“With the midwife shortage some pregnant women in Auckland are being told that instead of home-based midwife care, they have to go to public hospitals.

“In Wellington, many women will have to wait up to four or five months to get a midwife. While GPs are trying to fill the gap, the whole continuity of care is falling apart.

“This shortage is only going to get worse, and there’s a real risk that more and more women will miss out on vital support throughout their pregnancy.

“The Government is setting a new fee schedule for maternity care without taking this shortage into account. Both the Health Minister and the Health Ministry are failing New Zealanders,” says Mr Ryall.

He has released a memo to Wellington GPs from the Wellington Maternity Project (MATPRO) which describes the ‘serious maternity workforce issue’ and that 50 local women due in March and April still have no midwife.

ENDS

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