Labour backs support for mothers and babies, but is worried that other health services may be cut to pay for yesterday’s announcement, by Health Minister Tony Ryall, Maternal Health spokesperson Steve Chadwick said today.
“Over the past year DHBs have cut home help for elderly, they have cut mental health services and have been forced to pay for an increasing number of ACC patients referred to hospitals, so what else is the Minister cutting to pay for today’s announcement,” Steve Chadwick said.
“If this money has always been available then why have so many other services been cut?. The Minister’s claims of reprioritizations in health funding are simply weasel words for cuts to service that don’t meet the Minister’s test for a nice photo-opportunity.
“If this is a genuine increase in service, that has not come at the expense of other services, then Labour will of course support it. But over the last two years we have seen consistently the Minister give with one hand to take with the other.”
Steve Chadwick said the $8.3m per annum for maternity services announced on International Midwives Day largely addresses hospital staffing levels and referrals to other specialists to improve safety and quality.
“However, this funding does not address any training initiatives to grow and support the Midwifery workforce and is largely based around hospital services.
“There is no financial support for midwives to meet the constant demands of running their practices and meeting increased reporting requirements to ensure safe births and give all babies the best start in life.
“Labour will not tinker around the edges of child health services but will deliver a costed six-year plan ‘It’s About Our Kids’ to ensure we make a difference,” said Steve Chadwic