11 Nov 2015

Midwifery groups lobbied against mandatory hospital training

From Nine To Noon, 9:07 am on 11 November 2015

Official documents show the former Minister of Health, Tony Ryall, was poised to make new midwives do mandatory training stints in hospitals but changed his mind after coming under pressure from midwifery groups.

Mr Ryall had sought advice over at least two years on getting new midwife graduates to spend 6-12 months in hospitals gaining experience of different birth scenarios before becoming Lead Maternity Carers.

A pregnant woman and her midwife. The woman has medical equipment strapped to her stomach.

A pregnant woman and her midwife Photo: 123RF

But papers obtained by the group Action to Improve Maternity under the Official Information Act show both the College of Midwives and the Midwifery Council fought the move, saying other measures would improve services instead.

AIM has been agitating for several years to get more training for new midwives. The same view was expressed by Coroner Gary Evans in his inquiry into the case of Waikato woman Casey Nathan and her baby Kymani, whose deaths he found "were preventable".

Coroner Evans said junior midwives should not work unsupervised for 12 months and recommended changes to boost their training and experience.

Nine to Noon speaks to Jenn Hooper from AIM and Beverley Lawton, a midwifery researcher and member of the National Maternal Monitoring Group.