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Auckland DHB welcomes report into review of maternal deaths

Auckland DHB welcomes recommendations made by the Expert Advisory Review Panel in Kaitiaki Ira Kūkune Tāngata – Maternal and Perinatal Deaths 2020 Expert Advisory Review Panel Report into the deaths of four women and three of their babies while under the care of the DHB during March and April 2020.

This is an independent review of the care provided to these women and babies, as well as the recommendations being put in place from the individual adverse event reviews (AERs). It seeks to honour the four women, their babies and whānau by reviewing what happened and search for ways to improve the health service and future outcomes for other whānau.

The review panel (Margareth Broodkoorn, Sue Bree, and John Tait) reviewed the Adverse Event Reviews (AERs) and concluded that the quality of care provided by Auckland DHB in all four cases was of an appropriate standard.

The review panel is also satisfied with the recommendations made in the AERs. The DHB has completed most of these recommendations, with the others due to be completed by the DHB by the end of the year. 

The panel identified wider system issues that if changed, would improve the working environment for staff, reduce inequities in care and assist in managing demand and capacity.

The DHB has either completed or commenced work on all of the recommendations from the panel. Planning will have been undertaken and agreed processes will be in place by the end of 2021.

Director of Provider Services Dr Mike Shepherd says: “We hope this review gives whānau confidence both about the quality of our services and about our commitment to exploring each case and our service. We have taken this opportunity to identify anything we could do differently which might strengthen our pathways, systems and processes to minimise the chance that others might experience similar outcomes; and also to improve the experience of whānau undertaking a journey with loved ones which includes experiencing a tragic event. 

“I wish to acknowledge the whānau who have tragically lost their loved ones, as well as the staff who were involved in the care of the women and babies.

“We want to publically thank our staff for the work they do each day in serving their community.” 

The DHB has reached out to whānau ahead of the report’s release and will continue to support them during this time.

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