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Council responds to research paper on retrospective birth outcomes

A research paper was released in late September entitled: ‘A Comparison of Midwife-Led and Medical-Led Models of Care and Their Relationship to Adverse Fetal and Neonatal Outcomes: A Retrospective Cohort Study in New Zealand’ by Ellie Wernham et al.

The Council notes that Co-author former midwife Ellie Wernham acknowledged the benefits of a midwife-led model but her research shows there are aspects of the maternity system which could be improved. We are aware of pressures on the midwifery workforce both in the community and in maternity facilities and welcome initiatives to understand and address these. The Council has released a statement about this research paper.

In the same journal, the editorial: 'Improving Research into Models of Maternity Care to Inform Decision Making' by Anke de Jong and Jane Sandall, examines differences in the findings of Wernham et al.s study as compared with a 2015 Cochrane systematic review. The College of Midwives has released a statement about this research which they say reinforces claims that maternity services continue to be under pressure, and the DHB Midwife Leaders Collaborative Leadership group also released a statement on the same topic. In an article published on October 2 Professor Lesley McCowan, head of Auckland University's obstetrics and gynaecology department, has also urged caution when interpreting this research paper.