A key part of the work of the Perinatal and Maternal Mortality Review Committee (PMMRC) are the clinicians who collect and enter the data after a perinatal death. Clinicians are supported locally by one or two co-ordinators in each DHB region. These co-ordinators are appointed as agents of the PMMRC in accordance with Schedule 5 of the New Zealand Public Health and Disability Act 2000. Local coordinators can only act as agents of the PMMRC in the DHB specified in relation to perinatal deaths (20 weeks gestation or a birth weight over 400gm if gestation unknown, to 28 days after birth) and maternal deaths related to pregnancy.
An agent of the PMMRC can require any person, by notice in writing, to give the PMMRC any information in the person’s possession or under the person’s control (such as patient records) relevant to the functions of the PMMRC (see the legislation for restrictions on this). Agents are strictly regulated and they are punishable by a fine of up to $10,000 and disciplinary proceedings if they disclose information contrary to Schedule 5 of the Act.
PMMRC Local Coordinators are agents. Other people who may be appointed PMMRC agents are:
- staff of the Mortality Review Committee Secretariat
- the Chairpersons and some members of the Child and Youth Mortality Review Committee and the Family Violence Death Review Committee
- staff of the Otago Mortality Review Database
- advisers and contractors appointed to assist PMMRC.
The term of any agent varies from one day to three years.
If you have been approached by someone who advises that they are an agent of the PMMRC and you wish to check the status of that person, please email the National Co-ordinator, Vicki Masson: firstname.lastname@example.org.