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Covid Baby Boom

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Bridget Freeman-Rock17 July 2020

In a Facebook post this week, the DHB claims proof of a significant Hawke’s Bay’s lockdown ‘bubbling’ activity: “Our bookings for births in December and January are really high!”

They “highly encourage” pregnant women to book in with a midwife ASAP.

It’s no secret that midwives are thin on the ground as it is, and that morale in this often overworked, underpaid vocation has been at an all-time low.

Just as well the Government announced a $180 million extra funding boost for maternity services then!  ($242 million all up).

The funding largely targets midwives working in rural areas and those supporting high-needs, complex pregnancies (some midwives will be in line for a 25-40% pay increase). But it will also pay “for a broader range of services,” says associate health minister Julie-Ann Genter, “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’s also money ($35 million) earmarked for an action plan aimed at developing services that better reflect a kaupapa Māori approach to maternity care, RNZ reports, and a $60 million chunk to implement recommendations from the Simpson Health and Disability System Review, which highlighted a need to provide more integrated maternity services at a local level.

The budget announcement has been welcomed by the NZ College of Midwives, “it’s marvellous”, although they query why it took so long in coming.

Reading between the lines, the Hawke’s Bay’s DHB birth bookings ‘encouragement’ hints that a pending Covid baby boom may have been the spur.

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Bridget Freeman-Rock17 July 2020

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