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What’s CHILL-happening in NZ…with Lisa Common


So my day was desk based getting ready for Monday – picture as proof. I did get to have a walk to campus to check out the distance on foot – about 35 minutes or 6500 steps according to my Fitbit.

I am going to summarise a great paper by Grigg and Tracy (2013) that describes the maternity system over here, so for non-maternity folks, you may wish to skip this paragraph! Like the English NHS, maternity care in NZ is free to all women who are citizens or residents. NZ also has a unique nationalised, universal no-fault personal injury scheme that means health professionals are protected from civil litigation. In the 1990s, legislative changes meant that the emphasis of maternity care moved away from a medical led system, to a woman-centred and midwife-led system that has continuity of care as a core tenet. A Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) is responsible for assessing, planning, providing and co-ordinating maternity care from early pregnancy to six weeks after the birth. The LMC can be a midwife, general practitioner (GP) or an obstetrician. Around 92% of women choose a midwife as their LMC. Most midwifery LMCs work in community based midwifery group practices, and almost all are self-employed and paid by the government on a contract for service basis. While there are no internationally standardised quality measures for maternity, NZ’s rates of perinatal and maternal mortality are comparable with the UK. When the National Maternity Review was published in England and I saw the recommendations, I was surprised that there was no mention of NZ’s unique model. So my day was spent reading papers and trying to think through key issues to explore with the NZ experts I will be meeting over the next couple of months.

Watch this space for further updates from Lisa in New Zealand.


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