Budget to deliver for parents and babies

The Government will deliver $54.5 million over four years for maternity care and services to help new mothers in the May 19 budget.

Health Minister Tony Ryall said $33.2m more would go into maternity services over four years to improve safety and quality.

A further $21.3m would boost extra WellChild services, with a particular focus on first time mothers.

The funding was a mixture of new and repioritised money but details would not be provided until the budget.

"The additional funding will support midwives, nurses and doctors to improve safety and quality in maternity and WellChild services," Mr Ryall said.

The $33.2m for maternity service announced today included:

• $18.4m to bring local maternity professionals together for regular clinical reviews of all births to improve safety. This funding would also increase the number of midwives in hospitals, together with medical specialists on-site and on-call.

• $6m to revamp new parent information services.

• $6.8m to help vulnerable mothers access a fuller range of health and social services. It will also assist midwives to make appropriate and timely referrals to other practitioners.

• One-off funding of $2m to ensure all DHB maternity data is collected nationally.

The $21.3m over four years for additional WellChild visits would focus on the needs of first time mothers.

The additional funding was expected to deliver an extra 54,000 visits to around 18,000 mothers who need additional support. On average those mothers would get three additional WellChild visits up to the first two months of a baby's life.

WellChild currently provided two visits during the first two months of life.

"The Government is committed to giving new mums greater support if they need it, Mr Ryall said.

"These three additional WellChild visits will ensure a smoother handover from midwives to WellChild providers and an even better start for mothers and their babies.

"This comprehensive package underlines this Government's commitment to mothers and babies and builds on earlier initiatives in Budget 2009 and 2010."

In addition to the $54.5m in initiatives, $13m over four years will fund the needs arising from the rising birth rate.




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