Upgrade to funding tool for community maternity services

  • Hon Dr Ayesha Verrall

Changes to how community midwives are paid, will better recognise the time and travel required in more remote parts of New Zealand – and the service provided to mothers and whānau with complex needs.

“The Primary Maternity Services Notice has been upgraded, to better fund care for women and whānau in rural areas, and those with complex clinical or social needs,” says Associate Minister of Health Dr Ayesha Verrall.

The Notice sets out how self-employed primary maternity care providers are paid, and remunerates midwives for services provided from the beginning of pregnancy until six weeks after the baby is born.

“Budget 2020 included $85 million over four years to boost primary maternity care for these women. The changes to the Notice enable that funding to be delivered,” says Ayesha Verrall.

“I am committed to strengthening the maternity system, and improving the support available to our maternity care providers and the communities they serve.

“The 2007 Notice was outdated and provided no compensation for the additional time and travel required of some maternity care providers. This created an unsustainable business model in rural and highly deprived communities, and barriers to access.

“With the 2021 Notice, we will have a more flexible funding mechanism. The updated Notice will introduce rural practice, travel, and additional care payments, to more equitably fund travel and provision of maternity care.

“This will help improve the sustainability of community-based primary maternity services.

“And it is part of this Government’s commitment to lay the foundations for a better future. Because investing in a good start in life for our tamariki is one of the most important ways we can support the long-term wellbeing of New Zealanders,” says Ayesha Verrall.

  • Budget 2020 included the largest ever funding boost for primary maternity services. The Government invested $242 million over four years so maternity service providers, women and their babies can receive more support.
  • The Ministry of Health received a strong response to a public consultation on the proposed changes to the existing 2007 Notice. Feedback from the 944 written submissions and additional verbal feedback sessions was carefully considered to ensure the new funding mechanism is more flexible and responsive to need.
  • The Ministry of Health is working with the sector to ensure there is good understanding of changes to the Primary Maternity Services Notice, and that the system for processing payments is well-tested and robust before it comes into effect on November 29, 2021.

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