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Maternity Services Further Eroded

22 November 2006

Maternity Services Further Eroded

The Ministry of Health’s latest review of the Section 88 Maternity Notice seems to have ended up pleasing nobody, says New Zealand First’s health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

“The choices available to pregnant women are being further reduced by GPs opting out of the Section 88 contract for maternity services in order to charge their usual consultation fees because a flat fee of $100 for consultations in the first 20 weeks of pregnancy is not economically viable.

“Pregnant patients who want to stay with their own doctors may be faced with having to pay the full fee of around $60 per consultation. This will be financially taxing for many women at a time when they can do without any extra expense.

“The first priority of maternity services should be the level of care afforded to expectant mothers within the health system - not the cost or the person delivering the care, both of which have become matters of contention in this country.

“The ideal would be to have as many well qualified people as possible available to deliver babies so that we can guarantee them the best possible start in life but unfortunately we seem to be getting further and further away from that.

“The only person who can remedy this unsatisfactory situation is the Minister of Health. The ball is in his court,” said Mrs Stewart.

ENDS


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