Information on the work the Ministry is undertaking in the maternity sector.
On this page:
- July 2021
- June 2021
- May 2021
- April 2021
- March 2021
- January 2021
- November 2020
- October 2020
- September 2020
- July 2020
- June 2020
- June 2019
- January 2019
- October 2018
- August 2018
- May 2018
- April 2018
- March 2018
Launch of the Clinical Coach initiative. This programme funds experienced midwives working in New Zealand’s DHBs to provide clinical support to other midwives. Funding of $5 million ($3.8 million from this Government and an additional $2.2 million from DHBs) has been committed to support this initiative over the next three years. At least one clinical coach will be available at each DHB. DHBs with multiple hospitals, higher birth rates and/or tertiary levels of care may receive additional coaching support.
Launch of the Return to Practice initiative which aims to make it easier and more attractive for former midwives to refresh their practising certificates and return to this rewarding career. Funding of $1600 per midwife is being made available for up to 40 midwives in the first year, and 60 midwives in further years.
The Primary Maternity Services Notice 2021 was gazetted on 30 June 2021 and can be found here: https://gazette.govt.nz/notice/id/2021-go2473?stageDraft
The 2021 Notice will be implemented on 29 November 2021. Until then, the 2007 Notice remains in place.
The Ministry held the first in a series of information sessions on changes to the Primary Maternity Services Notice 2021, and on the Health Information Standards Organisation (HISO) Maternity Care Summary Standard and the New Zealand Perinatal Spine. Read about stakeholder information sessions.
Children’s workers advised to allow more time for Police vetting process to be completed
The Ministry of Health is aware that some Police Vetting Service requests are taking longer than 20 working days and children’s workers are advised to allow at least 6 weeks for their safety check requests to be processed.
New Zealand Police recently updated their website with police vetting timeframes. As at 10 May 2021, the Police Vetting Service is processing 51.9% of vetting requests within 20 working days, and 99.2% of all requests within 29 working days.
Having a current and up to date safety check is the responsibility of independently employed contracted providers and the Ministry encourages them to take this timeframe into consideration when applying for a Children’s Act 2014 safety check whether this is a new safety check or a safety check renewal.
The National Breastfeeding Strategy: Rautaki Whakamana Whāngote was officially released.
The strategy sets a clear direction for DHBs and providers such as GPs and midwives to improve access to technical, financial, emotional, cultural and public support for whānau.
The Ministry of Health recommends that babies are exclusively breastfed for the first six month.
The launch of Te ara ō Hine, a new initiative to support and increase Māori and Pasifika midwifery students.
The programme will provide pastoral care, academic support, and financial aid to Māori and Pasifika midwifery students across the five midwifery schools in New Zealand: Auckland University of Technology (AUT), Victoria University of Wellington Te Herenga Waka, Otago Polytechnic, Ara Institute of Canterbury (Ara) and Waikato Institute of Technology (Wintec).
The programme is the result of collaboration between the Ministry of Health, midwives, Māori and Pasifika faculty, current students and recent graduates from each of the five schools. Read more about Te ara ō Hine.
National Guidance is released for the Assessment, Diagnosis and Surgical Treatment of Tongue-tie in Breastfeeding Babies.
Ministry of Health issues advice to maternity provider ‘authorisation to claim’ data in January 2021
The Ministry of Health is reviewing its database to ensure it has current information for providers’ authorisations to claim under the Primary Maternity Services Notice 2007.
Starting from 15 January 2021, the Ministry will lapse authorisations to claim under the Notice that haven’t been claimed against for 18 months.
This only relates to authorisations granted before 1 July 2019, which have not been claimed against since 1 July 2019.
Once your agreement is lapsed, you can no longer claim against it. However, the Ministry welcomes providers to reapply for an authorisation at any time with evidence of a safety check and APC should they wish to restart claiming for primary maternity services.
If you have not claimed in the last 18 months and you plan to provide maternity services again in the near future, or if you need to reapply for authorisation, you can contact the Ministry of Health team on 0800 855 066 or email [email protected].
In the future, the Ministry will routinely review and lapse authorisations where no claim has been made in the preceding 18 months, to ensure their records remain up-to-date.
The Maternity Quality Safety Programme is a national programme to improve and build on the quality and safety of maternity services in Aotearoa.
Maternity Quality and Safety Coordinators play an important role within maternity services, working closely with maternity groups and advisors that represent pregnant people and their whānau, building vital relationships to help ensure their feedback and experiences can help drive change, and shape current and future maternity services.
From October, additional funding from of $2.2 million from Budget 2020 will enable at least one MQSP Coordinator to work in every DHB to ensure maternal quality and safety is prioritised, and work towards improving maternal and neonatal outcomes can continue.
The Ministry of Health monitors DHB delivery of Maternity Quality and Safety programmes through regular reports required by each DHB’s Crown Funding Agreement.
From 4 September to 13 November 2020, the Ministry of Health undertook a public consultation on proposed changes to the Primary Maternity Services Notice 2007. Find out more about the Primary Maternity Services Notice 2021 Consultation.
Following Budget 2020 announcements, the Ministry of Health is increasing fees paid to Lead Maternity Carers for 12 modules of care that relate to complexity of care and to rural services. The draft fee schedule and a list of the modules affected is now available at Primary Maternity Services Notice 2007.
This recognises the additional time some LMCs spend travelling to provide services to women in rural locations, and the care LMCs provide for complex cases in the third trimester.
It follows the increase of 2.18% for all modules introduced on 1 July 2020.
The Ministry is currently consulting on further changes to primary maternity service to increase the flexibility of community maternity services to better meet the needs of women and their whānau.
- Primary maternity fee increases for rural and complex modules of care: Questions and answers (Word, 247 KB)
- Primary maternity fee increases for rural and complex modules of care: Questions and answers (PDF, 109 KB)
LMCs who have questions can also contact the Ministry at [email protected].
More information about the review of Section 88 at Primary Maternity Services Notice Review 2021.
On 16 July 2020, the Government announced a further $180 million Budget 2020 package for the maternity sector. This brings the total new investment in maternity services in Budget 2020 to $242 million over 4 years.
Community maternity providers will receive an $85 million boost over the next four years to acknowledge the increased workload of providing care to rural women ($24 million) and women with complex needs ($61 million). This funding is additional to the previously announced $57 million over four years to cover cost and volume pressures under Primary Maternity Services Notice.
This new funding for rural and additional care will be disbursed by adding new modules to the Primary Maternity Services Notice, which will be undergoing a full review and public consultation this year, to be implemented in 2021.
The Ministry will work with the community maternity sector to determine options to disburse funding for rural and additional community maternity care outside of the Notice prior to the new Notice coming into force.
The Ministry has also received $35 million over four years to support the maternity sector through expansion of the Ministry of Health’s Maternity Action Plan (MAP). The MAP includes initiatives to strengthen national and local maternity quality and safety programmes, support workforce sustainability and support women and whānau.
A further $60 million over four years is allocated to support community maternity initiatives arising from any accepted recommendations of the Health and Disability System Review.
On 14 June 2020, the Minister of Health announced COVID-19 contingency funding to community Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) midwives.
The eligibility criteria are based on LMC module claims submitted from 1 July 2019 to 9 June 2020 (transition to Level 1). LMC midwives who have claimed at least one full or partial LMC module from 1 July 2019 to 9 June 2020 are eligible.
This funding acknowledges the changes in operation during the COVID-19 lockdown period.
The COVID contingency funding was implemented on 22 June 2020.
If you have any queries about the funding and the implementation process, please email [email protected].
Child wellbeing remains a high priority for the Ministry of Health (the Ministry), and universal health services, including maternity services, play a critical role in supporting and improving outcomes for women, babies and children.
Collectively as a sector we are focused on ensuring that New Zealand women, babies and whānau receive high quality maternity care from midwives, doctors, district health boards (DHBs) and other health and social service providers.
Currently the Ministry is actively collaborating with many people involved in maternity services including women, pēpi, whānau, communities, and with the New Zealand College of Midwives in a number of areas.
Delivering on Budget 2018 and Budget 2019
For the first time, the 2019 Budget contains a Wellbeing Outlook, in addition to an Economic and Fiscal Outlook. Further details are available at Budget 2019: Vote Health.
Over the past year, the Ministry has worked with the New Zealand College of Midwives on a number of initiatives that have benefitted midwives, including the uplift Section 88 fees, recognising the work of second midwives, and the Business Contribution Payment. The initiatives in Budget 2019 will continue to build on this work. These include:
- $7.425 million per year to allow a fee uplift to Lead Maternity Carers and Non-Lead Maternity Carers for the services they provide to women and infants. This is a fee uplift of 4.93 percent, which compliments the 8.9 percent uplift for LMCs in the 2018/19 year. An amendment to the Primary Maternity Services Notice 2007 (the Notice) has been notified which will implement this increase for claims with service date on or after 1 July 2019.
- $4.563 million of new funding for overall rural and regional workforce training. In the 2019/20 year and ongoing, $500,000 per annum will be added to the existing locum support provided for rural midwives.
- $4.335 million over four years for a wraparound support programme for Pacific students who would like to gain a nursing or midwifery undergraduate degree. This will reduce financial and other barriers faced by Pacific students.
The Budget 19 initiatives outlined above will assist working towards a more sustainable workforce by strengthening the pipeline into midwifery and then the support of the midwifery workforce. In addition, the Maternity Improvement Programme has a significant workforce component.
The recent Midwifery Accord, agreed between the Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service, the New Zealand Nurses Organisation (NZNO) and DHBs, and the Director–General of Health, has the focus on ensuring safe staffing levels of midwives employed by DHBs.
Primary Maternity Services Review
There is commitment to the continuity of care approach and are using co-design principles to design future maternity services and systems. This approach will continue to inform future direction and decisions. The Ministry is focused on designing a service commissioning model that will provide a sustainable alternative to the Notice.
In June and July 2019, the Ministry will actively engage with both consumers and midwives. This consultation will include looking at funding options and the development of a national midwifery provider organisation, as well as determining a fair and reasonable service price for Lead Maternity Care midwifery services. Feedback on the presented options will be welcomed.
In preparation for this work, we have collaborated with Māori leaders for their input and insights to ensure that going forward maternity services will be able to better deliver for Māori women and their pēpi. The Ministry acknowledges that this is the start of a longer conversation with Māori and that there is much more work to be done in the area of Māori health improvement.
Following a request from the Health & Disability Commissioner in late 2018, the Ministry held a meeting in April 2019 to discuss New Zealand’s current and future approach to the assessment, diagnosis and surgical treatment of tongue-tie in breastfeeding babies. The meeting was attended by 35 clinicians representing a variety of professions including midwifery, paediatrics, surgery, general practice, dentistry and lactation consultancy.
Meeting attendees reached consensus that multi-disciplinary guidance is required for the sector. Several issues were identified including a lack of consistent information for consumers about the risks and benefits of surgical treatment for tongue-tie; inconsistent and inequitable access to treatment when indicated; and a lack of nationally consistent breastfeeding support in the community. The Ministry is leading development of this multi-disciplinary guidance for completion in 2019.
National Strategic Plan of Action for Breastfeeding 2008–2012
The project of refreshing the National Strategic Plan of Action for Breastfeeding 2008–2012 is well underway. The refreshed plan will re-focus on strategies to improve breastfeeding rates in New Zealand. An external advisory group is assisting in the development of this work. A framework for the refreshed plan has been agreed, which incorporates a kaupapa Māori approach. The timeframe for delivering a beta version of what will be an online plan is December 2019.
Maternity Quality and Safety Programme
DHB Maternity Quality and Safety Programme coordinators have recently shared their thoughts on how the Ministry can better support quality and safety initiatives at local, regional and national levels. This will inform our work going forward.
Health Information Standards
In the preparation for release of the draft Health Information Standards Organisation Maternity Care Summary Standard for public consultation, there has been collaboration with many groups across the sector.
Maternity Research Programme
The Ministry has recently been in discussion with the Health Research Council regarding the potential to establish a maternity research programme. At the April Health Research Council – Ministry Partnership Governance Group meeting, the group identified opportunities to fund maternity research. The NMMG has been helping the Ministry identify and recommend areas for research. Two immediate research priorities are preterm birth prevention and maternal mental health. The Ministry aims to progress preterm birth prevention research initially. There is need for wider discussion scoping the topic of maternal mental health in light of the recent Mental Health funding announcements and the response to the Mental Health Inquiry.
In May 2017 the Ministry of Health (Ministry) and the New Zealand College of Midwives (the College) reached an agreement to settle the College’s application for judicial review alleging discrimination against midwives based on gender.
As part of the agreement reached in May 2017, the Ministry and the College agreed to a process for the co-design of a new model for the funding and contracting of community Lead Maternity Carer midwives. The Ministry also agreed to prepare a bid for the 2018 Budget that reflected the findings of the Co-design report and job evaluation process.
While the Co-design process proceeded as agreed, the Ministry did not prepare a Budget bid that reflected the findings of the Co-design process. Accordingly, the Ministry acknowledges that it breached the May 2017 agreement that it had reached with the College.
Representatives of the Ministry and the College met in mediation on 14 December 2018. As a result of that mediation, the Ministry and the College have reached further agreement. Some, but not all, of the matters agreed are recorded in this statement.
The Ministry apologises to the College and its members for breaching the May 2017 Settlement Agreement. Having expressly and formally agreed to do so, the Ministry did not prepare a Budget bid reflecting Co-design. The Ministry acknowledges that its breach was through no fault of the College.
The Ministry has reaffirmed its commitment to the Co-design principles, including a Blended Payment Model for LMC midwives. The Ministry has also reiterated its support for the continuity of midwifery model of care as central to maternity services in New Zealand.
The Ministry has agreed to a process to ensure a ‘fair and reasonable’ service price for LMC midwives. The College and the Ministry will work on this together throughout 2019.
The Ministry and the College have agreed to work together in early 2019 on structural changes to the way LMC midwives are funded and contracted.
The Director-General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, reiterates that strengthening and stabilising maternity services is a priority for the Ministry. The Ministry and the College have renewed their commitment to work together in good faith.
The Ministry and the College of Midwives met in September and agreed to a number of recommendations from the co-design process. The co-design documents are available to view on this page.
This work includes agreeing the following principles when developing any new Maternity system which is a fundamental part of the Government's priority for child wellbeing.
- Primary maternity care will continue to be free to all eligible women.
- The midwifery led model of continuity of care will be maintained.
- The right for community midwives to choose self-employment will remain under any new contract arrangements.
- A National Community Midwifery Organisation will be developed.
- A national primary midwifery contract will be developed as an alternative to Section 88.
- The new contract will protect, strengthen and integrate the existing model of care, and will include a regular review clause, thus affording community midwives the right to regular renegotiation of the terms and conditions of the contract.
- The on call and 'self-employed' nature of community midwifery will be accounted for in the new funding framework to enable flexible service delivery based on individual need.
- Work is underway to develop a revised national strategy for breastfeeding as a cornerstone for child wellbeing.
- The Ministry is undertaking this work in partnership with the New Zealand Breastfeeding Alliance (NZBA), who will govern its progression with an aim to deliver a new strategy in 2019.
- The NZBA is also revising the baby friendly hospital initiative (BFHI) to better align with community based provision of breastfeeding education and support.
- Work is underway on the first recommendation of the Maternity Ultrasound Advisory Group (MUAG), which is the development of national quality standards and guidance for primary maternity ultrasound.
- The first phase is development of universal guidelines to support radiology and sonography professionals to deliver nationally consistent and high quality maternity ultrasound screening services.
- A clinical expert working group is developing the guidelines and are making good progress.
- The guidelines will be circulated for consultation before year end.
- It is anticipated the guidelines will be completed beginning of 2019.
- The guidelines will form the basis of work regarding commissioning of primary maternity ultrasounds.
The next update at the end of October will provide further information on how a new sector maternity oversight group will be established, and how it will work with an 'all of systems' approach.
The Ministry and NZCOM Co-design Project: 21 August 2018
The Ministry of Health thanks the NZCOM staff, Ministry staff, community midwives and women involved in a project to co-design a new community primary midwifery funding model. Recommendations were delivered to the Ministry in December 2017.
The outputs of the project are not government policy but are informing future service models for wider maternity care.
Maternity and midwifery workforce is a priority for the Ministry. A whole of sector approach is in place to deliver more equitable, high quality and sustainable maternity care through a broad maternity work programme.
- Community Primary Midwifery Payment Model Report (Word, 32 KB)
- Community Primary Midwifery Funding Model Report (Word, 25 KB)
- Community Primary Midwifery Pricing Model Report (Word, 481 KB)
- Covering Memo and Recommendations to Steering Group (PDF, 2.5 MB)
- Presentation to Steering Group (Powerpoint, 3.4 MB)
- FAQs to support the presentation to the Steering Group (Word, 26 KB)
Agreement on second midwife funding: 3 August 2018
The Ministry of Health has reached agreement with the New Zealand College of Midwives on terms and conditions for which funding for second midwives can be claimed, where required, to support community midwifery practice.
A definition of the scope of second midwife services during labour and birth and how payment for these can be claimed will be communicated directly to the sector by 31 August, and will also be available on this website.
Claims for payment for second midwife services within the scope of this definition will be able to be submitted for payment from 17 September 2018, for services delivered from 1 July 2018.
Maternity services: update April 2018
The Ministry of Health and the New Zealand College of Midwives are working together with urgency on a maternity programme designed to address current pressure on the midwifery-led service.
Acting Director-General Stephen McKernan acknowledges collaboration over the last month between the College and Ministry officials has resulted in a positive way forward.
“Addressing workforce shortages and collaborating on a maternity programme that delivers a sustainable midwifery model of care has guided discussions.
“The Ministry has taken on board advice from the College to include elements of the co-design process.
“As a result the Ministry has agreed to develop a Memorandum of Understanding with the College to improve ongoing collaboration on the maternity work programme,” says Mr McKernan.
New Zealand College of Midwives, Chief Executive Karen Guilliland says women, their babies and families need improved access to safe, integrated, high quality services.
“The College and the Ministry agree a midwifery continuity of care model must be resourced effectively to provide support during pregnancy, labour and birth and through the postnatal period until the baby is six week old.
“I am also pleased that the issues raised by the current workforce shortage will be prioritised for resolution; for example, continuing to provide rural primary maternity service provision in all areas,” says Ms Guilliland.
Maternity services: update March 2018
Joint statement: New Zealand College of Midwives and Ministry of Health
Tuesday 14 March 2018
The Acting Director-General of Health, Stephen McKernan, met the Chief Executive of the New Zealand College of Midwives, Karen Guilliland and Deputy Chief Executive, Alison Eddy this morning (14 March) to discuss the co-design process and the Ministry’s response.
Both parties acknowledge the importance of women’s access to and experience of care, and the health and wellbeing of the midwifery workforce.
Chief Executive of the New Zealand College of Midwives, Karen Guilliland says the Ministry of Health is taking the issue seriously and values the relationship with the College.
“We have been working together on the co-design project since May 2017. The process exposed the current vulnerability of community midwifery services and highlighted that many midwives are finding the workload unsustainable.
“I expressed the urgency needed to support the workforce and I am looking forward to exploring how we do this with the Ministry over the next month,” says Ms Guilliland.
The Acting Director-General of Health agrees the co-design process highlights the urgent need for a sustainable way of working for the community-based midwives.
“The Ministry values the role self-employed midwives bring to maternity care. We will continue to discuss with the College the range of measures required. This will ensure improved access to safe, integrated, high quality services that meet the needs of mother and baby and work better for our midwives in addressing hours of work, workload, income and support,” says Mr McKernan.