19 May 2009

The NZMA has welcomed the Government’s announcement that it will increase funding over four years to boost maternity services, but has concerns that the potential benefits of some of this extra funding will not be fully realised under the currrent maternity system.

Additional funding announced, such as obstetric training for GPs and an optional meeting with a GP at each trimester, is unlikely to entice general practitioners and nurses back into delivering maternity services without a change to the maternity framework says NZMA Chair Dr Pete Foley.

“Without a re-structuring of the maternity system, so that it is integrated into the PHO framework, we will not see significant improvements in the effective delivery of maternity services in this country.”

“The NZMA has made proposals to the government about the need for changes to the structure of maternity services. This is crucial to ensure that continuity of medical care is available to women throughout their pregnancy, and that medical and midwifery services are coordinated so that the best quality care is offered.”

“The Government clearly recognises that the current maternity system is not delivering as well at it should but changes in the actual maternity structure are crucial to make a meaningful difference.”

Dr Foley says however that funding for the Plunketline 24 hours advice service and longer stays for new mothers in birthing facilities will certainly be beneficial for parents.