A toast to Tony

Health Minister Tony Ryall has delivered on his election promise of extra funding for maternity services.

The extra $103.5 million over four years is to fund:

* Longer stays for new mothers in birthing facilities

* An optional meeting each trimester for at risk mothers, attended by the pregnant woman, their GP, and their lead maternity carer (usually a midwife)

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

* Meeting the costs from the increase in the number of births each year, and

* Fully funding the Plunketline 24 hour telephone advice service – as previously announced.

I’m especially pleased about the longer stays in birthing centres because I put this forward when members were invited to Pitch a Policy at National Party regional conferences. I was then asked to put it to the national conference where it was greeted with enthusiasm and passed on to the health policy advisory group.

I explained my reasoning  in a post last year . My major concern was to stop new mothers being sent home before they had established breast feeding.

When I had my children it was normal for mothers who chose to do so to stay in maternity for about five days after an uncomplicated delivery and up to 10 days after a caesarean. The major benefit of this was that there was on the spot assistance if they had difficulty getting their babies to feed.

Stays have got shorter and in recent years. Some mothers have been discharged within a few hours of delivery and most within a day or two, before their milk comes in.

The extra funding should enable many more mothers to stay long enough to establish feeding.

P.S. Good to see the media release making it quite clear the Plunketline funding had already been announced and not pretending this was a new initiative as the previous administration used to.

One Response to A toast to Tony

  1. JC says:

    I was reminiscing about birth “in the old days” to my CEO last year, a woman a year or two older than me. I mentioned that back in the day my wife was in the hospital for 11 days after the first birth and 8 days for subsequent births.

    The CEO mentioned that just a few years earlier she stayed in the hospital a full fortnight!

    Now I know there’s been all sorts of wonderful advances in medicine, child birth and mothering, but enough so that the process could be shortened 700%?

    There was a point to those longer stays that went way beyond pure medicine and the brief business of birth. The effect was certainly to allow mum and baby to get hooked up, and also to get a shot at learning a young family routine, feeding, specialness, rest, supervision, changing, hygiene..
    The chance to impart wisdom, discipline, morality, responsibility, routine and method etc.

    Back then we understood, like Truby King, that first parents can be young, not necessarily with great education, cash strapped, ignorant, ill disciplined, estranged from the wider family, living in the mean streets, living in isolation etc, and that first week or two was a Godsent opportunity to launch the new or young family with some tools to cope.. that plus the regular visits of the Plunket or Karatane nurse, of course!

    So an extra couple of days is good, but I hardly think a young Sth Auckland mum and dad are so much better informed and capable than their grandparents that they couldn’t use the longer time of 40 years ago.

    JC

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