Health Minister Tony Ryall has announced a $54.4 million boost for maternity services and assistance to new mothers.
“It will mean better teamwork and provide extra help to mothers and babies who need it.
“This Government has invested an extra $1.2 billion in health services over the past two years, and Budget 2011 will provide an extra $33.2 million for maternity services over four years to improve safety and quality.
“A further amount of $21.3 million will boost extra WellChild services, with a particular focus on first time mothers.
“We all want the best possible services to protect the safety of mothers and babies,” Mr Ryall says. “The additional funding will support midwives, nurses and doctors to improve safety and quality in maternity and WellChild services.”
This will extend initiatives the government has already introduced to improve services for mothers and babies. That includes one I feel particularly strongly about, the funding to enable new mothers to stay in maternity centres until breast feeding is established.
The extra funding includes:
• $18.4 million to improve the safety and quality of services for mothers and babies, by bringing all local maternity professionals together for regular clinical reviews of all births. This funding will also increase the number of midwives in hospitals, together with medical specialists on-site and on-call.
• $6 million to revamp new parent information services.
• $6.8 million to help vulnerable mothers access a fuller range of health and social services. It will also assist midwives to make appropriate and timely referrals to other practitioners.
• One-off funding of $2 million to ensure all DHB maternity data is collected nationally.
The $21.3 million over four years for additional WellChild visits has a particular focus on the needs of first time mothers.
The additional funding is expected to deliver an extra 54,000 visits to around 18,000 mothers who need this additional support. For these mothers, this will mean, on average, three additional WellChild visits up to the first two months of a baby’s life.
WellChild currently provides two visits during the first two months of life.
“The Government is committed to giving new mums greater support if they need it, Mr Ryall says. “These three additional WellChild visits will ensure a smoother handover from midwives to WellChild providers and an even better start for mothers and their babies.
Additional Wellchild visits will be especially welcome.
New parents often don’t have the support of extended family as they might have in the past. Even if they do, a health professional can give reassurance, help prevent problems and treat those which do arise earlier.
Going into the home allows midwives and Plunket nurses to get a much better idea of how new parents are coping and are better able to identify babies which might be at risk then they could when babies are brought to them for clinic visits.
And because everyone gets Wellchild visits there is no stigma attached to them as there might be to visits by other agencies like CYFS or a Public Health nurse.