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Maternity care now a health priority

Joint statement from Waikato DHB, the New Zealand College of Midwives (NZ COM) and the New Zealand Committee of Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG)

Three of the organisations whose members were involved in the care of Linda Barlow on Sunday 25 October 2009 say the circumstances surrounding the case are tragic and resulted from a failure in the system to provide safe maternity care for Mrs Barlow and her baby.

Waikato DHB, the New Zealand College of Midwives (NZCOM) and the New Zealand Committee of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) say maternity care in New Zealand is generally of a high standard.

Dr Ian Page (RANZCOG), Karen Guilliland (NZCOM) and Corli Roodt (Waikato DHB) said the unfortunate events such as those experienced by Mrs Barlow and her family were rare.

The three made the comments today following the release of the Health and Disability Commissioner’s report into the care provided to Mrs Barlow during the labour and delivery of her son Adam.

“A review of the content and application of policies and procedures for all women receiving primary or secondary maternity care has helped to clarify standards and expectations for all health professionals working in maternity care,” said Ms Guilliland.

“A review of the national referral guidelines resulted in greater clarity in how transfers from primary to secondary care should be made,” she said.

“There have been improvements in the interpretation of  cardiotocography (CTG) by health professionals, as evidenced by the presence of both colleges at a recent meeting on this topic in Melbourne and continuing joint educational activities throughout New Zealand,” said Dr Page.

Mrs Roodt, the Waikato DHB clinical midwife director, said a review of the training and education available to professionals working in maternity care had led to better understanding of the roles and responsibilities in maternity care.

“I’ve seen there are closer relationships between health professionals as a result.”

The three organisations also believe that continuing with multi-disciplinary forums will ensure better communication regarding the care of women and so make it safer.

Consumers of maternity care and health professionals working in this area are receiving the full support of Waikato DHB, NZCOM and RANZCOG.

ENDS

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