$100 million for maternity services

Tony Ryall announced yesterday $104 million over four years for additional funding:

  • 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
  • Fully funding the Plunketline 24 hour telephone advice service

I think the second point may be the most important. The changes made in the late 1980s by then Minister Helen Clark have been a disaster for many parents. GPs have abandoned maternity services, and doctors and midwives have often been silos – not talking to each other.

And far far too many babies have died needlessly, because of a lack of competence amongst some (not all) midwives. A refusal to call in a specialist has proven fatal too often.

So the three monthly meetings between mother, GP and leader carer is a commendable initiative.

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