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Fee rise no cure for midwife crisis

Hon Tony Ryall
National Party Health Spokesman

11 November 2005


Fee rise no cure for midwife crisis

National’s Health spokesman, Tony Ryall, says despite today’s maternity funding announcement the midwifery crisis will continue apace next year.

“The Government has known about this crisis for at least a couple of years. If they had acted then, New Zealand women would not be finding it harder and harder to get midwives today, ” says Mr Ryall.

“This increase is no substitute for a co-ordinated action plan that would fix the midwife crisis. The fee increase won't address workload or the support GPs can provide at this time.

“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. Rotorua and Taupo are the latest areas facing shortages.

“The 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.

“That's why the Government should be acting instead of trying to make a headline out of an ad hoc funding pledge,” says Mr Ryall.

ENDS

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