Thursday, 9 October 2008
NZMA welcomes Maternity Action Plan, with reservations
The New Zealand Medical Association today welcomed the release of the Maternity Action Plan consultation document and
Wellington maternity review.
Major changes have occurred to New Zealand’s maternity system over the past 20 years, at a time when maternity care was
not a high priority with the Ministry of Health. There has been no monitoring of the effects of these changes, and
inadequate data collection systems, said Dr Mark Peterson, the NZMA’s maternity spokesman.
“Both reports call for a new perinatal maternity data collection system so that we can monitor changes within maternity
care. This is strongly welcomed by the NZMA.”
“A strategic approach to the provision of maternity services in New Zealand is long overdue, and this action plan
represents a step in the right direction,” said
“We will be studying it carefully and commenting in detail on the proposed actions. However, our immediate impression is
that a number of important issues have not been addressed.
“We are disappointed that the need to bring primary maternity services into the Primary Health Organisation framework
has not been more explicitly recognised, which would promote a closer connection between General Practice and maternity
“The current funding arrangements mean that it is difficult for General Practice to ensure continuity of medical care is
available to women throughout their pregnancy, and this needs to be addressed.
“We are pleased to see the emphasis on developing the maternity workforce, which has been under substantial pressure for
a number of years. We look forward to contributing to the Ministry’s consultation process.”
Dr Peterson also said it was unhelpful to refer to primary, secondary and tertiary maternity services. Instead all
maternity services should be integrated.