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Source: New Zealand Ministry of Health

This publication outlines the future model for Maternal Fetal Medicine and identifies projects and priorities to improve service quality, consistency and sustainability of maternal fetal medicine services to women and babies in Aotearoa New Zealand. The document was written before the announcement of the Health Disability System Review and so does not reflect the changes that are to occur to the Health System in 2022.

Maternal Fetal Medicine (MFM) is a sub-specialty of obstetrics and maternity care for women where the pregnancy is considered highly complex (because of either a maternal condition or a fetal condition or abnormality). The service provides assessment, diagnosis and management, which includes advanced fetal therapies or procedures where indicated.

The MFM Action Plan outlines in detail a future model for these services to deliver safe, sustainable maternal fetal medicine services to women and babies in Aotearoa New Zealand. 

In 2017, in response to service vulnerabilities and significant variation in access rates, the Ministry commissioned a review of the provision of MFM services. In 2018, a National Service Improvement Programme Advisory Group was set up to develop and recommend a future service model for MFM, to identify improvement priorities and to develop an Action Plan to implement the required changes.

The overall goal of the resultant Action Plan is to ensure all mothers and babies achieve the best possible outcomes, through high-quality MFM assessment and treatment, provided by expert practitioners. The Action Plan details actions which are categorised into the following five priorities.

  • Priority 1: The MFM service model enables high-quality clinical care and outcomes
  • Priority 2: High-quality, nationally consistent data informs MFM service planning
  • Priority 3: MFM services are cohesive and well integrated with other services
  • Priority 4: All women receive timely and equitable access to MFM care
  • Priority 5: All women and whānau experience MFM care that meets their needs

The Action Plan details a structured approach to provide safe and accessible national MFM services for Māori, Pacific and other populations underserved by MFM currently. It acknowledges that addressing equity requires culturally safe maternity services across Aotearoa, provided by culturally competent teams.