Prenatal and maternity care
Obstetricians and gynaecologists have been working for years to reduce infant mortality. Minister Edith Schippers intends to support them. She believes that gynaecologists and obstetricians should work together from the start of pregnancy. Moreover, she proposes that they henceforth be paid from the same source (integral funding). Her proposals have opened up a discussion. Obstetricians are especially worried about losing their independence. They also fear that women will no longer be able to choose to give birth at home.
In the Netherlands, pregnant women can choose their own obstetrician. This specialist decides whether to refer their patient to a gynaecologist. If there are any complications, for example. Obstetricians and gynaecologists claim expenses from health insurers, using their own tariffs. In minister Schippers’s proposed system, the various care professionals receive a single sum as a coordinated team. According to the minister, this system would encourage cooperation and raise the standard of maternity care.
Questions for the minister
Questions were put to the minister in the House of Representatives regarding the proposed system, in particular with respect to women’s freedom of choice, the need for such a system and the role of health insurers.