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National Women's Gives Assurances Over Care

MEDIA RELEASE

Hon Wyatt Creech

Minister of Health

28 July 1999

National Women's Gives Assurances Over Quality Clinical Care

The Health Minister has received firm assurances from Auckland Healthcare that women will get the same level of quality clinical services regardless of where in National Women's Hospital they get their care.

"I had sought answers from Auckland Healthcare over aspects of their plans to offer a different level of maternity service at National Women's Cornwall Suite.

"I have met with the Chairperson of Auckland Healthcare who has now provided advice to me and officials about the plans.

"I have received categorical assurances that no public funding will cross-subsidise the non-clinical 'top-up extras' being offered in the Cornwall Suite.

"I have received equally as robust assurances that the level of clinical service will be the same as offered in the rest of the hospital. This includes the following advice from Auckland Healthcare:

*The clinical care provided to women in the Cornwall Suite is the same high standard as that in all National Women's post natal wards and follows that laid down in the Maternity Services contract.

*The ratio of midwives to patients in the Cornwall Suite has been budgeted at the hospital average of between five and six postnatal women per midwife. That is, the Cornwall Suite will have two midwives on duty on a shift, with the unit at peak able to accommodate 10-12 women.

*A nightly charge to the client has been implemented in the Cornwall Suite to be able to provide a choice for women to have a higher quality of hotel facilities, such as a Leather La-z-boy chair, queen sized beds, a-la-carte menu, snack bar in each room, cloth napkins, higher quality crockery.

*The midwifery staff have been chosen to have the same high skill level as midwives currently in the other postnatal wards, and therefore are able to care for women with complications in the Cornwall Suite, therefore, providing equal access to all women.

*Back-up specialist services are available on the same basis as to all postnatal women in the hospital.

*There is no cross-subsidisation of non-maternity service extras from the public funding, all of the non clinical extras are covered by the nightly room charge to the woman and her partner.

"Auckland Healthcare has also apologised for failing to inform me or CCMAU or Ministry of Health officials of the plans.

"New Zealand has a free quality maternity service. If women want to pay extra for these non-clinical services than that is their choice. I fully support giving women that choice.

"No public hospital can charge for any maternity service for which the woman concerned has a clinical need. The Health Funding Authority will now be ensuring that National Women's Hospital honours the obligations and undertakings they have given to provide the same quality clinical maternity service to women," Mr Creech concluded.

ENDS


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