Proposed maternity changes offer opportunities

Press Release – Waikato DHB

The successful introduction of a new model of primary birthing care at Thames has resulted in a proposal to expand the model to Matariki Birthing Unit in Te Awamutu. www.waikatodhb.health.nz/matarikiProposed maternity changes offer opportunities

The successful introduction of a new model of primary birthing care at Thames has resulted in a proposal to expand the model to Matariki Birthing Unit in Te Awamutu. www.waikatodhb.health.nz/matariki

In a consultation document released to midwives last month, Waikato District Health Board (DHB) clinical midwife director Corli Roodt and associate midwifery manager Pip Wright said it has been challenging providing accessible, appropriate, timely and high quality services to rural communities.

Waikato DHB needs to overcome a shortage of midwives due to uneven distribution and ensure women have easy access to a lead maternity carer wherever they live.

The starting point for the process of review was to keep Matariki open as a primary birthing unit, said director of nursing and midwifery Sue Hayward, knowing there are women who drive past the unit to have a primary birth in Hamilton.

“Many women have given birth at Matariki over the years, and this option allows women to continue to birth safely in a local, primary birthing unit,” she said.

“The next challenge was to design a model of care that is both affordable and satisfies Waikato women along with meeting ministerial requirements.”

Patient safety and satisfaction along with the full utilisation of self-employed midwives was imperative.

Waikato DHB has three stand-alone primary birthing units in Thames, Morrinsville and Te Awamutu with three in a hospital setting at Tokoroa, Taumarunui and Te Kuiti.

Primary birthing includes antenatal care, uncomplicated/low risk labours and births and postnatal care.

Secondary care provided at Waikato Hospital in Hamilton includes services for women who:
• are recognised to be at high risk of complications at any stage during their pregnancy, labour or birth
• require medical inductions or epidurals
• unexpectedly develop complications at any stage of pregnancy, labour, birth or postnatally
• require delivery via caesarean section, planned or emergency

“Normal birth provides the most favourable outcome in terms of physical and emotional wellbeing to the majority of women and their babies,” said Mrs Hayward.

“Women who are experiencing normal pregnancies should be offered the option and encouraged to give birth in primary birthing facilities or at home.”

The option under consideration in Te Awamutu will see midwives from Waikato Hospital given the opportunity to be rostered in this community and midwives from there able to rotate to work at Waikato Hospital.

That will result in an increase in midwifery skill across the Waikato, said Mrs Hayward.

It would also result in a better use of staffing resources and skills, enhance efficiencies and increase facility utilisation.

Consultation with midwives closed last week and the submissions will be considered by Waikato DHB and union representatives.

ENDS

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