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Midwifery world class system but time to invest and improve

28 September 2016

Midwifery world class system but time to invest and improve

Responding to the Otago University research about outcomes for babies born with a lead maternity carer, NZNO say it is timely research and suggests it could trigger a wider investigation of the whole maternity system.

“Midwives are part of a much bigger service. We have a world class system and if we are concerned about outcomes then we need to turn our gaze to the wider health system, funding and access,” NZNO chief executive Memo Musa said.

NZNO note that although it is good to see this research being done, it is actually now out-dated and much has happened since the data used was received.

“The 2016 Cochrane review suggests that women who received midwife-led continuity models of care were less likely to experience intervention and more likely to be satisfied with their care, with at least comparable adverse outcomes for women or their infants than women who received other models of care,” he said.

Mr Musa points out that recent Ministry of Health referral guidelines, setting out when a midwife must refer to a specialist have been put in place and the midwifery education programme has been updated since this research was done.

“The Minister of Health last year provided a whole package of funding for midwifery first year of practice so that midwives are properly supported and mentored into practice,” he said.

Mr Musa says the media coverage of this research provides an opportunity to alert that NZNO members are reporting that DHB maternity wards are under stress.
“Keeping a world class service and system is the focus here and putting the ‘heat on’ midwives is not the way forward,” he said.
“Most of our larger maternity units are facing critical maternity staffing issues because they can’t recruit midwives. This needs to be explored as to why they can’t attract and retain midwives.

“The issue of core midwifery under staffing at DHBs can be a problem when there is a need for handover of care. NZNO are very concerned that maternity units around the country are under stress and under staffed,” he said.


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