• Georgina te Heuheu
Women's Affairs

"Our babies are our future. We want mothers well cared for during pregnancy and for our babies to be born well and healthy," said Minister of Women's Affairs Georgina te Heuheu.

"It is very pleasing to hear that over 75 percent of all new mothers are satisfied or very satisfied with the maternity services they are receiving," the Minister said.

"The results from the National Health Committee's Review of Maternity Services released today are heartening. A good start for mums and babies at this potentially vulnerable time is a good start for the future," Mrs te Heuheu said.

"Earlier this year the Government asked the National Health Committee to review maternity services because of concerns we were hearing, largely from provider groups, about changes put in place in 1996. The government wanted to hear what mothers had to say about the changes. And of the more than thirteen thousand women who responded, the results show the great majority are satisfied."

The NHC has recommended retaining the Lead Maternity Carer system established in 1996. Women are generally happy with the consistency and continuity of care this system provides.

"Typically they have a close relationship with their carer and this is important for them," Mrs te Heuheu said.

"Even in good systems there are still things we can do better. We need to be more responsive to the needs of Maori and Pacific Island women, and one way we are achieving this is through increasing the number of Maori and Pacific Island midwives who are currently training.

"We also need to strengthen the links between maternity care and the ongoing care that families need. I am pleased to see that the committee has taken this into account in its recommendations about access to GP services."

"We wanted to hear mothers views and I thank the thousands of women who responded willingly. Their frankness has helped to inform this really important inquiry," the Minister concluded.