LMCs are independently contracted by the Ministry of Health to provide primary maternity services. There have recently been some LMCs exiting practice in parts of the Waikato - leaving a gap that has yet to be filled. For some women this meant it has been difficult to find an LMC.
As with all health care services, coverage traditionally becomes reduced over the Christmas/Summer period as staff take leave. This is a similar situation in primary maternity care as a number of LMCs reduce their caseload at this time of year.
However because of the reduction of LMCs practicing in Waikato this may leave some women finding it very difficult to register with an LMC.
For all women who come to general practice for pregnancy testing / in early pregnancy please follow the recently published Map of Medicine Early Pregnancy Pathway to ensure the woman has all of her first trimester screening and care. Please discuss with the woman that it is important that she seeks an LMC as soon as possible by either contacting the midwife she had in previous pregnancy or if she is a first time mum/new to area to direct the women to the following website https://www.findyourmidwife.co.nz/midwives/waikato that lists all the LMCs in the Waikato area and their availability.
Because of the shortage over the summer period we have increased our community midwifery capacity at the hospital (this team usually provides postnatal care for out of area women who have an infant in NICU).
The community midwifery team are based at Waikato Hospital and provide antenatal and postnatal care. Another midwife will provide birth care at River Ridge birth centre if the women is a low risk normal birth, or birth care will be provided by a hospital midwife at Waikato Hospital if the women requires secondary care services.