News > New era of inter-disciplinary collaboration

New era of inter-disciplinary collaboration

Media Release

17 January 2017

New Zealand College of Midwives and the Primary Health Alliance signal new era of inter-disciplinary collaboration

The New Zealand College of Midwives has become a full voting member of the Primary Health Alliance in a move which signals a new era of inter-disciplinary collaboration for New Zealand’s primary care sector.

“The overriding focus of the Primary Health Alliance is the health of our population. Midwives have an essential role to play in our communities and they have continually failed to receive the recognition they deserve. Primary Health Alliance members believe a sector-wide inter-disciplinary partnership approach will secure the best outcomes, including for Mothers and their babies, and that is why we are delighted to welcome the College of Midwives to work alongside us and help shape our future approach to front-line patient-centred care” says Primary Health Alliance chairman, John Ayling.

The Primary Health Alliance has an increasing number of long-standing working relationships spanning the sector. Its members now include the Pharmaceutical Society, Allied Health, Heart Foundation, Health Promotion Agency and NGOs as well as a significant number of PHOs who are often serving some of the highest need and most rural communities. This move to recognise the importance of inter-disciplinary working and formalise the College of Midwives membership is expected to be widely welcomed. Deb Pittam, President of the New Zealand College of Midwives, says, “The College is excited to be joining the Primary Health Alliance; an organisation whose members clearly see the need for an inter-disciplinary team approach and recognise the vital role that Midwives play.

“Our members are rarely acknowledged for the amazing personalised care they provide. Having this new national seat alongside primary care’s leading professionals and organisations is, we believe, a significant stepping stone towards a primary care partnership that truly values the skills, expertise and dedication of our profession.”

Whangarei GP and deputy chair of the Primary Health Alliance, Dr Andrew Miller, says “For too long midwives have been unable to access the supportive organisational frameworks of their primary care colleagues or wider support across the sector. As GPs we would be unable to manage without the high quality, timely and holistic care which midwives provide 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – a role they undertake without commensurate reward or recognition. It’s time for their place as one of our health systems greatest success stories to be appropriately acknowledged. It’s exciting to hear they’re joining the Primary Health Alliance”.


For further information please contact:

Philip Grant, Chief Executive, Primary Health Alliance

Tel: 022 131 8393

Or Ali Jones, external media adviser (NZCOM), Ph 0272473112

Note to editors:

The Primary Health Alliance

  • The Primary Health Alliance (formerly the PHO Alliance) is an inter-disciplinary consortia of member primary health care organisations working together to influence policy, share learning, share best practice and support better outcomes for patients
  • PHO members encompass some 1.2 million enrolled New Zealanders living in some of the most deprived communities from Cape Reinga to Bluff
  • The Primary Health Alliance was formally established in September 2006 to provide national leadership on key issues affecting the Primary Health Care Strategy and Primary Health Organisations in New Zealand
  • The Primary Health Alliance guiding principle is that: “Improving health outcomes for all is best achieved through a combination of clinical leadership and community involvement”
  • The Primary Health Alliance operates what is believed to be a unique governance and operating model on behalf of members. This includes the following key principles:
  • The Primary Health Alliance provides a specifically Primary Health Care focused national body
  • The Primary Health Alliance runs on a low-cost membership model which adds significant additional value through the collective ‘in-kind’ contributions made by Members
  • The Primary Health Alliance incorporates strong ‘on-the-ground’ community representation from its members’ own Board members with a broad skill-set and a degree of independence from provider organisations
  • Further details on the Primary Health Alliance and its membership can be found on its website

New Zealand College of Midwives

The New Zealand College of Midwives (the College) is the professional organisation for midwives, representing nearly 90% of practising midwives in New Zealand. The College’s midwife membership comprises both employed and self-employed midwives. There are around 3,000 midwives who hold an Annual Practising Certificate (APC). These midwives provide maternity care to on average 60,000 women and babies each year.

The College sets professional standards, provides continuing education for registered midwives and conducts the Midwifery Standards Review process for all practising midwives in New Zealand. It offers professional information, education and advice to women, midwives, District Health Boards, workforce unions, schools of midwifery and the Ministry of Health regarding midwifery and maternity issues. It provides the Midwifery First Year of Practice Program for new graduates and rural locum midwifery services under contract to the Ministry of Health.

In order to maintain its woman-centred focus, the College works in partnership with women by encouraging consumer membership and involvement in the development and maintenance of the midwifery profession. It makes places on all of its national and regional decision making committees for consumer membership and input. Current consumer groups who are members of the College’s National Committee are Plunket, Parents Centre, Home Birth Aotearoa and Le Leche League. The College also works in partnership with Maori and Pacific membership, who have representation on the College’s National Executive.

The College is made up of 10 regional committees all autonomous but working in harmony with the College’s overall objective to maintain maternity service quality and midwifery practice standards and support midwives to provide woman-centred care. Regional committees are all volunteers.