Maternity service providers, women and their babies will receive more support after a $242 million maternity package announced today by Associate Health Minister Julie Anne Genter.
This is the largest ever funding boost for primary maternity services, and is targeted to recognise the work midwives do when caring for women living rurally, and those who have high-needs pregnancies.
“This Government wants kids to have the best possible start in life – I am pleased to see women get the significant investment they need to thrive during pregnancy, birth and in the early postnatal period” says Julie Anne Genter.
“We’ve invested $85 Million so midwives can be paid for a scope of care they are already providing to many new mums and babies, with new modules under the Section 88 Notice.
“Previously, midwives supporting women in rural locations or with complex pregnancies were paid a standard rate, even though these women require longer travel times, and extra attention throughout pregnancy, labour and birth, and the postnatal period.
“Midwives will now be paid for a broader range of services– specifically providing antenatal home visits to women who need to be seen in their own home, coordinating care across agencies, and supporting families experiencing miscarriage or baby loss.
There is also an additional $57 million over four years to help cover the growing costs and demand pressures within the Primary Maternity Services Notice, which includes a 2.18 per cent increase to fees Lead Maternity Carers receive.
“We know we need to do a better job of meeting the needs of wāhine Māori and their whānau by supporting not only their physical needs but also their mental health and well-being. The $35 million funding for the Maternity Action Plan will develop services that better reflect a kaupapa Māori approach to maternity care.
Last month, all eligible LMC midwives also received a $2500 payment to help cover extra costs incurred due to COVID-19, along with funding to support locum arrangements.
Today’s maternity package announcement is on top of the Government’s $300 million dollar capital investment in health, as part of the New Zealand infrastructure upgrade programme. Of that, $83 million is designated for child and maternal health, including improving birthing facilities.
“Anyone who has been through pregnancy and childbirth understands not only the absolute joy of a newborn in their lives but also how stressful this journey can be at times – I’m committed to doing all we can to support our youngest New Zealanders and their families.
“All midwives work extremely hard to care for women and their babies nationwide, I’m proud that community midwives will now receive better support for their vital role in the health and wellbeing of about 60,000 newborn New Zealanders and their parents every year,” says Julie Anne Genter.
Media contact: Esther Tetlow 021 0298 3211