[Sitting date: 12 June 2012. Volume:680;Page:2806. Text is incorporated into the Bound Volume.]
Dr JACKIE BLUE (National) to the
Minister of Health: What reports has he received on improvements to midwifery services?
Hon TONY RYALL (Minister of Health)
: I have seen a report this morning reporting that more midwives are practising in New Zealand than ever before. The College of Midwives puts this increase down to stricter qualifications, a mentoring programme for graduates, and better staff retention. They also report that midwife numbers in rural areas are steady for the first time in years, and I am very pleased to be able to report to the House that 176 midwifery graduates have been confirmed on the Voluntary Bonding Scheme to date. The 2012 registrations of interest are scheduled to open this Friday. Having said that, there are still some pressure points around the country, and district health boards continue to work on dealing with these.
Dr Jackie Blue: What initiatives has the Government put in place to improve midwifery services?
Hon TONY RYALL: The Government has put around $114 million extra into maternity services since 2008. We have had a very strong focus on quality and safety, delivering better services for parents and babies. Last year the Government launched the maternity quality and safety programme, and midwives have been attending workshops around the country to learn about these new quality and safety initiatives. Midwives, obstetricians, general practitioners, and anaesthetists are working together in a way that we have not seen before to deliver better services to parents and babies. This is all part of the extra $2 billion that this Government has invested in our public health service since 2008.