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Changes Recommended In Response To Maternity Petition

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Changes Recommended In Response To Maternity Petition

Wellington, Oct 18 NZPA - Parliament's health select committee has recommended a string of changes to New Zealand's maternity system after taking note of an 826-strong petition on the issue.

The petition, led by Jennifer Maree Hooper and her "Good Fight" group, was referred to Parliament in June last year and urged it to make necessary changes to the maternity system to increase safety and protection for all mothers and babies.

Good Fight, which includes families and health professionals, argued New Zealand had a steadily declining perinatal mortality rate for many decades, but that the decline had stopped since the maternity reforms began, while rates in other countries had continued to fall.

The petitioners put forward a supplementary submission noting an Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) report had assessed overall child mortality in New Zealand to be higher than the OECD average.

The committee assessed the petition and has made a string of recommendations to the Government, including:

* Urging key providers (midwives, obstetricians, paediatricians, GPs, and anaesthetists) and consumers to continue to develop a collaborative non-fragmented model of maternity care in New Zealand

* considering establishing an independent national perinatal epidemiology unit for collecting data on all births as part of its Maternity Quality Initiative.

* requiring the Medical Council and Midwifery Council to ensure new graduates have significant post-graduate monitoring, supervision, and education updates, before going into independent practice.

* developing guidelines for all providers, including the coroner, for the process of investigation and for communication with the bereaved family, following the referral of a perinatal death to the coroner

* requiring GPs to formally refer pregnant women to lead maternity carers before the tenth week of pregnancy to ensure appropriate screening tests can be carried out in a timely way

A string of more specific recommendations around greater support and communication were also made.

The committee said it had given the petition careful consideration as it recognised how fundamentally important it was for New Zealand to have a maternity system that ensured the highest standards of care possible.

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