9 September 2001
Ministry of Health proposals to change maternity arrangements will take choice away from women and is infuriating
specialist obstetricians, paediatricians, radiologists and anaesthetists, National's Associate Health spokesperson Dr
Paul Hutchison said today.
"At National Women's Hospital, where a significant number of births are carried out by specialists, some specialists
are threatening to quit their maternity work completely if the Minister stops them from being able to charge relatively
"If Annette King allows these changes* to go through, specialists will leave the maternity system in droves. That would
be disastrous for women in both the public and private sector."
Dr Hutchison said many general practitioner obstetricians have already left, with Otago's Professor of Obstetricians
saying it's almost impossible to recruit high quality obstetricians.
"A major finding of the 1999 Maternity Review was 'the question of choice of provider and the type and level of care is
central to the satisfaction all women experience during maternity care.'
"Taking away the right for specialists to charge co-payments would mean that only the wealthy few could afford private
"Annette King must not be allowed to get away with this. It is yet another sign of her absolute inability to mange the
health sector. I challenge specialists throughout the country to fight for their current rights so that New Zealand
women and their families can maintain choice within maternity provisions," Dr Hutchison said.
*The Ministry of Health's 'proposal to change maternity contracts' can be found under 'news and issues/media releases'