Last night the Government voted down my Members Bill that would improve health outcomes for mothers and their babies by ensuring that newborns are enrolled with a GP before they are six weeks old, National MP Parmjeet Parmar says.
“Despite the Government claiming that it wants to do more for the health and wellbeing of children and after the three Government parties unanimously supported this Bill in its first reading, they have now all voted down this Bill.
“In an attempt to pretend to address this issue the Government is planning to take a watered down approach by looking to implement an extremely low target for newborns to be enrolled with their GP before they are six weeks old.
“The Government members on the Health Select Committee have agreed to introduce two performance measures for newborn enrolments through DHB annual plans. These would aim to have 55 per cent of newborns enrolled with a GP by 6 weeks of age and 85 per cent of newborns enrolled by 3 months of age.
“Their suggested target of 55 per cent as a performance measure is far too low. Six weeks is a significant amount of time for a newborn to not be enrolled with a GP and for the health system to be unaware.
“My Member’s Bill would introduce a very basic legislative framework to remove some barriers and implement the necessary systems to ensure that newborns are enrolled with a GP as early as possible and before six weeks of age.
“Having a system in place to track GP enrolments and encouraging earlier enrolment would immediately bring about better health outcomes for new babies.
“It would not only ensure that health and development checks were carried out early but would also provide a vital opportunity for GPs to inform and connect the family with a range of other support options including both health and social interventions.
“The improved health outcomes are compelling reasons for us to have a legislative framework to enrol newborns before they are 6 weeks old.
“The Government should adopt the principles of my Members’ Bill that it has just voted down and start work to improve health outcomes for newborns.”