Mums petition Govt for review

Women who have lost children during childbirth or have had severely disabled babies will petition Parliament today for an independent review of the maternity sector.

The group, called The Good Fight, was established because of safety concerns.

Its petition calls for the establishment of a database that records all outcomes for babies, such as near misses and disabilities, not just deaths.

The petition also calls for an independent review of midwife training and supervision.

Founding member Shannon Beynon lost her two-day-old daughter Emma, who died in Christchurch Women's Hospital in 1996 after complications from a prolonged labour.

A coroner ruled that Emma would have lived had she and her mother been transferred to hospital earlier, and that midwives had a professional responsibility to refer to others when they reached the limit of their expertise.

Beynon said she passionately believed the safety of babies needed to be improved. "The maternity system is ripe for change and I believe there is some motivation by Government to do so."

Beynon was among group members who met Health Minister Tony Ryall on Friday.

Ryall told The Press he had a great deal of sympathy for the group's situation and they made some very good points.

Several matters they raised were already being worked on, he said.

The Government's draft maternity action plan was out for public consultation until the end of July, Ryall said.

Another group member, Hamilton woman Jenn Hooper, has a disabled daughter.

Charley, 3, suffered a massive brain injury at birth.

Hooper said her daughter was not monitored enough during labour and was not breathing when born.

Charley has severe cerebral palsy and spastic tetraplegia, and has up to 200 seizures a day.

Hooper said greater accountability was required.

The Press