Northland DHB has approximately 55 employed midwives working across the primary and secondary facilities for the DHB.
Within Northland there are approximately 1500 births annually, the majority of births occur at the secondary unit at Whangarei, the remainder occur at the three primary units in Kaitaia Hospital, Bay of Islands Hospital, Dargaville Hospital and Rawene on the Hokianga harbour. There are also approximately another 10-15% of total births that are planned homebirths.
At Whangarei Hospital women have a choice to receive care from an Independent Midwife who is self employed or choose one of six hospital based ‘Team Midwives’ who work in pairs to deliver full continuity of care to approximately 30 women a month, each midwife case-loading about five women a month. A number of options are offered for Antenatal Education, which is provided by an experienced Midwife.
The secondary maternity service is provided for those women who experience complications during their pregnancy or during labour. There is a team of five Obstetricians working with junior doctors and core/facility midwives to provide 24/7 care for these women.
Within this environment, a secondary clinic is provided for those women who require obstetric input into their care, or who cannot find an LMC. The service strives to provide those women continuity by offering a midwife to provide the antenatal and postnatal care as much as possible, the core midwives will provide the labour cares and if necessary with consultations with the obstetric team.
There is a level 2 special care baby unit with six cots, babies are occasionally transferred to Tertiary care in Auckland but usually return to Whangarei for ongoing care prior to discharge.
All facility midwives rotate regularly between the Delivery suite and the ante/post natal ward. They also assist in the Obstetrician Ante natal clinics.
In the postnatal ward a Lactation Consultant who works Monday-Fri day assists the staff with women who may be experiencing breastfeeding problems.
A midwifery educator provides a programme of ongoing education along with clinical education to midwives needing extra support. The service is also very supportive of students by providing clinical experience for both the AUT student midwives and undergraduate nursing students.
All midwives are expected to maintain a professional portfolio and participate in the Midwifery Council of New Zealand re – certification programme. They are assisted by the district health board to meet these requirements.