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Review to guide improvements to Women’s Health Service

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MidCentral DHB has begun work to strengthen leadership, culture and patient safety for its Women’s Health Service.

​These are the key recommendations from an independent review of maternity services. The review was commissioned by MidCentral and Whanganui DHB executive leadership following a series of serious and tragic events in 2014 and 2015 in which five babies died and two were seriously harmed.

MidCentral DHB Chief Executive Kathryn Cook said: “In light of the recent tragic events, we need to be confident that we are doing all we can to ensure that the mothers and babies receive safe and effective care.”

The mothers and families affected had been kept informed of the review. “Each event was a family tragedy and we offered our regrets to the families at the time.  We have remained in contact to outline what happened clinically and to offer any support they might need.”
The delivery of health care is complex. Often there is no single cause for an adverse event. Ms Cook said the review’s brief was to look at ways to improve leadership and culture and to report on how the service’s systems and processes should deliver the best possible outcomes for patients.

In addition to strengthening the leadership, culture and patient safety of the service, the review highlighted a range of actions including:
• MidCentral and Whanganui DHBs to review the model for the Regional Women’s Health Service
• MidCentral to establish a stronger partnership between lead maternity carers (LMCs) and the hospital services to improve collaboration for antenatal, birth and post-natal care.
• MidCentral’s model of service for the future needs to allow for improved collaboration and continuity of LMC involvement.

Ms Cook said that in releasing the review the DHB wanted to acknowledge its accountability to the public and the need to work with women and their families, staff and other health professionals in maternity care to put the wellbeing of the mother and her baby at the centre of everything we do.

The review team was: Dr Chris Hendry (Director, New Zealand Institute of Community Health Care and who has been a nurse and midwife in NZ for many years), Dr Ian Page, (Consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist, Northland DHB), and Emma Farmer (Head of Division – Midwifery, Waitemata DHB).

Contact: Communications Unit (06) 350-8945

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