First-time mums to benefit from health package

Dominion Post 5 May 2011

Extra Plunket visits for first-time and at-risk mothers will help prevent tragedies like the death of a six-month-old Ngaruawahia baby, Health Minister Tony Ryall says. About 18,000 mothers will get three extra WellChild visits in the first two months of their babies’ lives, as part of a $55 million package announced by Mr Ryall yesterday before the May 19 Budget. Currently, mothers receive two visits – usually from Plunket nurses – in the first two months. It would be mainly first-time mothers who had the extra visits, but health workers would also be able to provide them for mothers and families that needed more support, Mr Ryall said. The announcement followed the death of Ngaruawahia baby Serenity Jay Scott-Dinnington in Starship hospital in Auckland last Thursday. She was found in her home with critical injuries consistent with being violently shaken. Mr Ryall said the support parents would get from the extra visits would help save the lives of other at-risk babies.