Major changes needed - MPs

BY KATE NEWTON
Last updated 05:00 19/10/2010

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Big changes to the maternity system are needed to protect infants during birth, a report to Parliament says.

Compulsory supervision of first-year midwives and a national data unit that collects information on all New Zealand births are among recommendations from Parliament's health select committee, which presented its findings to fellow MPs yesterday.

The report was done in response to a petition presented last year by The Good Fight – a group of women whose babies died or were left disabled because of problems during birth.

The group had called for "immediate and wide-ranging change in New Zealand's maternity system".

The report has urged a raft of changes, saying "serious work needs to be done to improve some aspects of the New Zealand maternity services".

The committee said it had heard anecdotal evidence that births where the baby died or was hurt often involved newly qualified midwives "working without sufficient experience or support".

"We've made a pretty clear and strong suggestion there that midwives, for at least a year after graduation, should be subject to ... mentoring and very close supervision," committee chairman and National MP Paul Hutchison said yesterday.

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- The Press

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