New referral guidelines for lead maternity carers (LMC) have been released this month by the Ministry of Health that require LMCs to refer pregnant women to a GP or primary care provider if a pregnant woman has certain conditions.
Conditions that require referral include: alcohol or drug abuse, depression, anxiety disorders, arrhythmia/palpitations, thyroid disease, symptomatic cholelithiasis, inactive inflammatory bowel disease, controlled epilepsy, asthma and influenza.
Under the new guidelines there are four categories of referral. These include: primary (GP, midwife or primary health provider consultation), consultation with a specialist, transfer of care to a specialist and emergency transfer of responsibility to appropriate specialist or practitioner.
The referral process will require the LMC to recommend a path of care to the pregnant woman, who will then give her consent. The process must be documented at all steps.
The next revision is planned for 2016, but the ministry hopes to review guidelines sooner if required.
For more information, see: Ministry of Health – Guidelines for Consultation with Obstetric and Related Medical Services (Referral Guidelines)
To download the guidelines, click here.
For more information about Pregnancy & Childbirth Services in New Zealand, click here.