Friday, 9 May 2008

bye bye bob

a few things of interest tonight. first, bob clarkson has decided not to stand in tauranga. have to say that makes me pretty happy. mostly because of his silly comments regarding the burqa, against which i had this piece published in the herald. but also because this will help the labour candidate, anne pankhurst. she's very well-known in tauranga, has extensive experience in local government as well as business and has a great sense of humour. she's not had much national media coverage yet, but i think she stood a good chance even if clarkson hadn't pulled out.

of course, the wider question posed by colin espiner today was whether the nats have decided to give mr peters an easy ride in order to get him on-side. could be a possibiltiy, although mr peters hasn't yet indicated he'll stand in tauranga. if they choose a soft candidate, they'll give away the seat easily, and most likely it won't go to mr peters. even a stronger candidate will have trouble matching anne's profile.

in other news, the maternity service satisfaction report was launched today, and was pretty positive:

The overall picture of maternity services in New Zealand, however, was very positive. The survey reports that 96% of women were satisfied with their antenatal care, 94% felt well cared for during labour and birth, 97% were satisfied with their home birth, 92% birthed in a facility of their choice, 90% were satisfied with the number of postnatal home visits, 94% of families had chosen their well child provider by one month and 96% of babies had their six week baby check by their general practitioner.

i recall my own experiences with maternity care, quite a few years ago now. i really enjoyed having the independent midwife, and being in control of the birthing plan. well not much of plan in my case. my midwife asked me about my plan for the birth, and i said it was very simple: i want every possible drug available, and i want them at the earliest possible time. she was really fine with that, and in the end all i had was a pethidine (?) injection right at the end.

i also recall attending an ante-natal class in australia with someone who was pregnant. when the nurses heard i was from nz, they started gushing about how wonderful the system was here and how lucky nz women were. i know our system is not perfect, but with the underlying philosophy being to empower the mother, it's pretty damn good.

of course there were concerns, and the most important for me was women having to leave hospital earlier than they wanted to. for many women, being at home as early as possible is the best option, but some need greater support, especially when it comes to establishing breastfeeding. i think the option to stay longer needs some serious work.

"workforce issues" ie staff shortages is another major one, and that usually comes down to money. i certainly don't begrudge midwives getting paid more, given the horrendous hours they have to work. that, and the increased training opportunities should help.

won't be blogging over the weekend. have to be in auckland tomorrow and thames on sunday, with pretty full-on days. hope you all have a good weekend.


Deborah said...

I'm so glad to see Bob Clarkson gone. His racism and sexism appalled me. I guess he might be a big man in Taurange, but frankly, being a ball scratching misogynist racist doesn't cut it when it comes to running the country.

As for maternity care - hmm... I'm with you on not forcing mothers to leave early. Plenty of others are fine to do so, but others are new to motherhood, and to breastfeeding, and they need that time in hospital to learn some basic skills, and others have young children to go home to, so the stay in hospital is the last chance they have to have a rest before going home.

I have grumbled about this one or two times myself, over at my place.

Julie said...

On the whole I think we are on the right track with maternity services. However the midwife shortage is severely undermining the long term viability of the service we have now. My midwife was not a very good match for me, but because it is so hard to get them I felt I couldn't change. As a result I was concerned about whether what I wanted would be carried out during the birthing process (as it turned out I had to have an "elective" caesarean so this became a moot point as my midwife was not involved). After Wriggly arrived I did not feel that I got much support from the midwife, particularly around breastfeeding which I found very difficult and painful. If there wasn't such a shortage I would have found someone better for me and I think it would have helped a great deal indeed.

stargazer said...

i do remember that the remuneration for midwives was cut some years back, which i think has had a significant impact on the numbers today. that's why i think we need to ensure they're getting sufficiently remunerated. otherwise, why would you do it? it's pretty difficult to have a family life, and it's really bad for your health (cos of the uncertain hours).

julie, you're right that you need to have a good fit with your midwife, otherwise the system doesn't really work. i found establishing breastfeeding really difficult with both my babies, and ended up using la leche league for the second one. they were actually better than the midwife.