Page 2237 - Week 07 - Wednesday, 3 August 2022

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Continuity of care is the evidence-based gold standard for maternity care. International and national studies have consistently demonstrated that continuity of midwifery care improves satisfaction for both pregnant people and health professionals. It boosts the outcomes. It reduces intervention.

A woman’s or pregnant person’s perception of their care is also really important. This is an area where the way you feel about it materially changes the actual outcomes. The fact that people want continuity of care is its own reason to deliver it. I would also really love to see the expansion of midwife-led continuity of care into the postnatal period, ideally up to 12 months. That is really important. It is important for maternal and infant wellbeing and it is really important for the establishment of breastfeeding. It is also really important because the peak period when mothers experience postnatal depression is nine months postpartum, so that would really help there.

I would like to see the establishment of an ongoing dignity survey of women and pregnant people post birth, at 12 months. That would really help us to learn from mothers, pregnant people and birth people’s experiences during and after their maternity care, and into their first year of parenting. It would help us to work out how to do this even better.

I am absolutely thrilled at the health minister’s Maternity in Focus plan. It is looking at birthing on Country models of care, and that is really, really good to see. I am very, very excited to see how that work develops. I am really, really pleased that all of this work is going to develop with strong stakeholder consultation and, hopefully, with frontline midwife consultation as well.

We are also really pleased to see that there is progress towards expanding access to home birth for north-siders. Home birth is as safe as hospital birth for low-risk women. These changes have been a long time coming, so it will be really good to see how that develops over time. It will also be really, really good to see more of that work developing with the stakeholders—with the midwives, with the clients, with the pregnant people, with the women themselves—and for us to set some goals of success to make sure that we know that what we are doing is working.

I have had a lot of really fun conversations in my office lately with midwives. We tend to start each conversation with the mandatory 10-minute exchange of one’s birthing story. Our young male adviser generally backs out of the office and comes back in after an appropriate time! It has been really, really fun. It has been really, really good to hear what is going on on the ground.

We have heard from Mr Davis; we have heard from almost 2,700 petitioners this morning. We know that it is a really, really difficult time out there at the moment. The entire health system is under incredible strain. The entire birthing and maternity care system is under exactly that same strain. There are some additional pressures for our midwives and for our clients. A lot of people are reeling from the recent death of Dr Peter Scott. I would just like to offer my condolences. I did not know him, but he sounds like he was really well loved. He was definitely doing some good work. I know that that has affected his staff, colleagues, friends and family really deeply. I am really sorry about that.

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