New Zealand's Middlemore Hospital has been accused of neglecting pregnant women. Health Minister Tony Ryall has requested the Counties Manukau District Health Board to report its plan of action to prevent the "unacceptable" neglect of Kiwi patients in maternity wards.
Middlemore Hospital has been repeatedly told to address the issue in the maternity wards after a report revealed pregnant women received poor care. Some women have allegedly "dropped out" of the health care system after finding out about South Auckland's poor care and alleged inhumane treatment.
In the report, one patient revealed her husband was the one who delivered their baby because the midwife was off "gossiping."
Maternity Services Consumer Council Coordinator Lynda Williams said it is not only the hospital in Middlemore which has failed in providing the proper care pregnant women need. Ms Williams revealed that other regions with a high number of Maori and Pacific Islanders also experience the same problem.
She remarked that it was "completely unacceptable for hospitals especially in high-needs areas to treat Maori and Pacific Island pregnant in a different way other than a warm welcome when inside the maternity wards.
The report about pregnant women being treated badly came following an independent maternity review in which it found that South Auckland had a higher rate of dying unborn and newborn babies in 2012 than the national average.
Ms Williams reiterates that maternity wards in these hospitals were having ongoing problems. She said Maori and Pacific Island women feel "judged," and it would be helpful if hospitals can get Maori and Pacific Island women as midwives.
Overcrowded hospitals, midwife shortages and poor care for pregnant women were highlighted in the maternity services review which used feedback from former patients in the report.
The report also included feedback from young pregnant women who experienced poor care while in the hospital. One woman said she didn't want to go back to the hospital after her first pregnancy and chose to have her child in her own bathtub. Another young pregnant woman was told by a doctor to "give it up."
The health minister said the health board chief Dr Lee Mathias has extensive background in maternity services, and he will be tasked to focus on the complaints against Middlemore Hospital's maternity services.