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Quality And Safety Push In Maternity Services

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Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Tony Ryall
Tony Ryall

The Government has confirmed work is underway on the main recommendations from recent consultation on a Draft Maternity Action Plan.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said, "We have asked the Ministry of Health to focus on improving quality and safety for pregnant women and their babies."

"There was a wide range of suggestions and observations about the draft plan. We didn't want the result to be a so-called Action Plan which was a goulash of everyone's ideas, with lists of what will be done in years to come. We want a focus on what matters, and immediate timeframes."

"We are no longer working on the draft Action Plan, but will use the draft and the consultation to inform future work and policy development."

Over the next 18 months, the Ministry will be focussed on:

* developing national quality and safety standards including maternity service standards, clinical indicators and key performance indicators

* revising referral guidelines to include protocols for transfers of care and emergency transfers

* improving maternity information systems and analysis, as recommended by the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee

* developing standardised, electronically transferable maternity notes, to improve communication in transfers to other professionals.

"These are the areas that were strongly supported by a wide range of submitters, and reinforce the Government's view that the mission of maternity services is the health and safety for mothers and their babies."

"When we have delivered on these actions, we will look at the next priorities for improving maternity services," Mr Ryall said.

The Government has already boosted maternity funding by $103.4 million over four years to keep up with a rising birth rate, and for initiatives including

* Longer stays for new mothers in birthing facilities

* Obstetric training or refreshers for GPs wanting to return to maternity care

* A voluntary Bonding scheme for graduate midwives

* A rural midwifery recruitment and retention service

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