$2m for extra safeguards to maternity care

26 Mar 2015 | Perinatal & Maternal Mortality Review Committee

Press release from Hon Jonathan Coleman

Health Minister Jonathan Coleman says cases where a woman becomes seriously unwell during maternity care will now be audited by a panel of experts.

“It is important that new mothers and babies receive high quality care across New Zealand,” says Dr Coleman.

“Safer maternity services are a priority for this Government – that's why in Budget 2012 we invested an extra $103 million over four years into improving maternity services.”

The Severe Acute Maternal Morbidity Audit looks into cases where pregnant or recently delivered women had been admitted to ICU and looks for factors that may have been avoidable.

The reviews are carried out by a multi-disciplinary panel of experts, including obstetricians, midwives, anaesthetists, and intensive care specialists.

Following a successful feasibility study involving four DHBs, the national audit process has been trialled for the last two years in all DHBs.

To date over 300 anonymised cases have been reviewed and the information gathered fed back to the maternity sector to inform clinical education and policy.

“These audits contain valuable information which can help us to provide even better care for the mums of tomorrow,” says Dr Coleman.

“Making this worthwhile programme a permanent part of our maternity quality and safety activities is a credit to the clinicians involved and their commitment to improving care.”

The Audit programme has been a joint effort, led by the University of Otago with support from the Ministry of Health, NZ Health Research Council and DHBs.

The Ministry will invest $2 million over the next four years into the audit programme which will sit under the Health Quality & Safety Commission.

Last updated 26/03/2015