This is the first of what is planned to be an annual Report on Maternity analysing New Zealand maternity services. It contains information on the outcomes, availability and utilisation of maternity services for women who delivered in New Zealand in 1999.
This information will be useful for District Health Boards (DHBs) when they are considering maternity services and outcomes within their district, and it will assist them in preparing needs analysis.
The report will also be of interest to lead maternity carers (LMCs), health professionals, policy makers, academics and consumers. The report will allow LMCs and institutions to benchmark their services, to compare their practice with that of their colleagues, and to make detailed international comparisons.
This report contains data from the newly established Maternal and Newborn Information System (MNIS), whose primary purpose is to improve the health of New Zealand children and mothers. It is essential that every country monitors its maternity service, for only by careful observation of the past can we develop methods to improve in the future.
National maternity data have been collected in New Zealand for some years, but reports have been limited and data incomplete.1 To improve the information available, in July 1999 the Health Funding Authority initiated the establishment of the MNIS, which would be a collection of perinatal information, amalgamating data from two of the five current datasets;2 LMC payments claims; and the data collected at hospital discharge through the National Minimum Dataset (NMDS).
It is hoped in the future to amalgamate all government collected data sets.