Call for DHBs to 'step up' education

Southern region Parents Centres, including in Gore, are calling for an increase in the funding that District Health Boards (DHBs) elsewhere in New Zealand provide for childbirth education.

This week, Parents Centres NZ Inc released research showing new mothers were often falling through the gaps as a result of poor information and access to services provided around the time of childbirth.

While Southland mothers were comparatively well catered for, mothers in other DHBs were not so fortunate, Parents Centres southern community adviser Julie-Ann Ross, of Dunedin, said.

‘‘We would challenge the DHBs to continue funding CBE [Childbirth Education] and where the standard of one in three isn't being met, to step up and do so,'' she said.

Southland DHB funds childbirth education courses equivalent to 41.6 per cent of all births in the region, well above the 33 per cent national guideline.

That funding level puts Southland in the top third of the country based on funding levels.

DHBs that do not fare so well include Nelson-Marlborough (12.2 per cent), Counties-Manakau (17 per cent) and Northland (12.5 per cent).

The Southern region has seven Parents Centres including one in Gore.

The research results were timely because the Ministry of Health had started to review the consultation on the Maternity Action Plan, Parents Centre chief executive Viv Gurrey said.

‘‘The research clearly shows that . . . there are significant differences in the availability and delivery of childbirth education across DHBs and New Zealand as a whole,'' Wellington-based Ms Gurrey said.

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