The Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee (PMMRC) is making changes to its publication plans for 2019 and how the committee will undertake its work. These changes mean we will not hold our usual conference in June 2019, and will produce a data-focused report later in 2019. This does not signal any other change to the PMMRC’s usual work.
The chief purpose of the PMMRC conference, usually held in June, is to convey the messages from our annual report, however we are not able to publish an annual report by June. We are planning to publish a data report updating important perinatal and maternal datasets later in 2019, but this report will not be published soon enough to inform a national conference.
There are several reasons for the temporary adjustment to our regular reporting and conference cycle.
Firstly, there have been substantial changes in PMMRC’s membership, including several new members joining the committee and the appointment of Mr John Tait as chair in June 2018. This has encouraged valuable committee discussions about our strategic direction. The most important of these has been our responsiveness to requests from the Health Quality & Safety Commission (the Commission) and from the sector for a stronger response to inequity in perinatal and maternal outcomes, particularly for Māori. We feel the discussions to reshape our committee priorities will pay dividends in future reporting and to health outcomes in general.
Secondly, we recently held a tender process for PMMRC’s epidemiology services, which have been provided by Auckland UniServices for many years. In July 2018 during a routine open procurement process, UniServices withdrew its epidemiology services from the contract they held with the Commission and chose not to tender for future work. A replacement provider will be announced shortly. The time taken for the procurement process reduced our analytical resources at the time we would normally be preparing the bulk of our annual report.
From July 2019 the national coordinator role will be brought in-house to the Commission. This will be a dedicated, full-time role. The coordinator will continue to work with local PMMRC coordinators to ensure high-quality data collection and valuable local improvement initiatives continue. Extra resources have also been allocated to allow sufficient handover with UniServices. Similarly, the data administrator role will be transitioned to the Commission.
Notwithstanding the change to our 2019 schedule, there are no current plans to change PMMRC’s structure, focus, outputs or budget. We plan to return to our usual practice of a report and a national conference in 2020.