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More maternity funding for new parents

Hon Tony Ryall
Minister of Health

19 May 2009
Media Statement

More maternity funding for new parents

Health Minister Tony Ryall has announced the Government will spend an extra $103.5 million over four years to boost maternity services for parents.

The additional funding provides for:

- Longer stays for new mothers in birthing facilities
- An optional meeting each trimester for at risk mothers, attended by the pregnant woman, their GP, and their lead maternity carer (usually a midwife)
- Obstetric training or refreshers for GPs wishing to return to maternity care
- Meeting the costs from the increase in the number of births each year, and
- Fully funding the Plunketline 24 hour telephone advice service - as previously announced.

"The Government has recognised the need for new mothers to have the option to stay longer in birthing facilities if they need extra support,” Mr Ryall says. “The Government has invested $38.5 million over four years in longer maternity stays.

"We have heard from too many new mothers who have felt pressured into going home before they are ready, and those who could benefit from extra support."

Longer stays will help new mothers establish breast feeding and gain confidence in caring for their baby before they return home.

The additional visits to GPs and lead maternity carers for at risk mothers during pregnancy will help encourage better integration with primary health care services and increase support for pregnant women. The Government has invested $9.9 million over four years in these visits.

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GPs wishing to retrain or refresh their obstetric skills will now have access to funded training courses with a view to increasing the number of GP lead maternity carers. The Government has invested $1.1 million over four years in this training.

There is $40 million over four years for maternity services to match the higher birth rate.

As previously announced, the Government has fully funded Plunketline's 24 telephone advice service - $14 million over four years.


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