Sunday, June 01, 2008


Red News Readers,

About time Costa!! The baby boom started about 6 years ago and you are only just catching up with funding the services now!!

Forget worrying about recruiting obstetricians!! What you need is more midwives in antenatal, labor and postnatal wards, and better services. The pain that has been experienced in midwifery services over the past 6 years, struggling to cope with demand is enormous. Midwives are supposed to have reasonable workloads according to the provisions of their award but that has been a joke for a long time. Quite often their workload problems are exacerbated by poor workplace design, the lack of support services and administrations who aren't listening or who won't take the necessary steps to improve the situation because it won't look good for the budget bottom line. Unfortunately all of these factors have led to an exodus of the best of midwifery to work in better jobs with less stress and more job satisfaction.

If you want to talk about cost efficiency Costa, talk to the midwives about midwifery models of care. They have been trying to get politicians to listen for some time.

Jenny Haines

Costa's $46 million baby bonanza

Sarah Price And Lisa Carty, smh

June 1, 2008

A BABY boom and an increase in the number of babies being born in public hospitals is behind a $46.4million funding boost to NSW maternity services, the State Government announced yesterday.

The funding sweetener, part of Tuesday's budget, will be spread across the state over four years.

Premier Morris Iemma said the boost would include money for 12 extra obstetricians, 150 midwives and $3.6million for high-risk maternity services.

Of those, 37 midwives and six obstetricians would be recruited in the first year. The money will also be for more nurses.

Health is the budget bogyman. Treasurer Michael Costa, left, has nominated it as the biggest spending challenge the Government faces.

With health costs more than doubling in the past decade, a major injection of funds beyond the $12.5billion spent in 2007-08 will be essential.

In 2004, budget headlines announced that health spending was to hit $10billion for the first time.

Now, that seems almost modest. Health expenditure grew at an average annual rate of 6.6per cent over the three years to 2006-07.

Opposition finance spokesman Mike Baird believes health expenditure could increase even further, by up to 10per cent per year for the next 10 years.

But, he warned, it was no good simply slipping an extra "$1billion into health and patting yourself on the back".

"You have to look at outcomes and achievements," Mr Baird said. "Anyone who gets a capital injection needs to account for it."

Mr Baird accused the Government of being "too clever by half" in previous budgets and called for more honesty and transparency. He said this year's budget surplus essentially depended on the Federal Government meeting a demand from the Iemma Government for $450million in stamp duty for the sale of Sydney Airport.

Mr Baird said both the former Howard government and the current Rudd Government have refused to pay up.

The unfunded superannuation liability for public servants was another example of budgetary sleight of hand, he said.

The future debt was $17billion but the Government had fiddled with the accepted calculation to make it appear the debt was $10billion, Mr Baird said.

At yesterday's funding announcement at the Royal Hospital for Women the Premier said the financial injection would mean a "significant expansion" of maternity services.

He said more than 90,000 babies were born in NSW every year and the proportion of those born in public hospitals had grown from 68 to 77per cent in the past five years.
Dr Danny Challis, the hospital's obstetrics director, said the baby boom meant hospitals were under pressure.

Mr Iemma said the birth rate at some public hospitals had increased by 30per cent.

He blamed that partly on a decision by the Howard government to change the obstetric and maternity funding safety net, putting childbirth in private hospitals out of reach of some families.

"It's forced families back into the public hospital system to have their babies," he said.

Mr Iemma said $3.6million would go towards high-risk services for women with complicated pregnancies. "It will also allow us to co-locate high-risk maternity beds with neonatal intensive care cots in more hospitals," he said.

Mr Iemma urged obstetricians in private practice to think about coming back to the public health system.

"We're increasing the resources to reach out and recruit more obstetricians," he said.

"Think about coming back."Source: The Sun-Herald