Thursday, November 29, 2007

The $100 'bribe'

Wellington mothers are being "bribed" with $100 grocery vouchers to leave hospital within six hours of giving birth.

But I thought people couldn't be incentivised with money?? I mean, nobody gets pregnant for the DPB.

I was part of the 'nappy-bribe' generation. Not that I needed them in either sense. I didn't need an incentive to get out of the place asap and I gave the nappies to somebody who might materially appreciate them. The place was dirty. I watched a 'cleaner' enter the room with a mop and create a wet snail-trail in and around the beds and depart. Doing the recommended walking during labour resulted in feet dirtier than if I had gone outside and walked up and down the footpath (No I don't possess a pair of slippers). The vending machines offered more appetising choices than the hospital kitchens. And lying awake listening to screaming babies all night is hardly restful. If I had been of the era when they made you stay in hospital for days to 'recuperate' I would have been tearing my hair out. I can't understand why anyone wouldn't want to go home at the first possible opportunity.

But I had to shake my head at the last line in the news item.

Hospitals used to offer free nappies to encourage mothers to leave early, but this policy had largely been abandoned.

In 2005, Hutt Valley District Health Board said it stopped the practice as it "had concerns this may be an inappropriate incentive for unwell women to go home".

How archetypically illustrative of bureaucratic bungling. Chopping and changing policies with neither reason nor rhyme. Propelled by pragmatism. In all its wisdom, Capital and Coast has decided incentives are appropriate with a qualifier - cash is and nappies are not.


Anonymous said...

How self serving of Lynda Williams from the self-elected Maternity Services Consumer Council to comment on how unfair it is to women, when this same group advocates home birth.

Millions of women go home after normal childbirth. They are sure to get better care than in the majority of understaffed hospitals. New Zealand has a good (by most standards) community midwife follow-up program which hopefully would pick up problems such as neonatal juandice. If not, then this selfsame MSCC should look to itself and it's members (mostly midwives) to find the problem.

Oswald Bastable said...

I remember a very similar experience.

We just go the hell out and didn't bother with the nappy bribe.

The next time was a home birth. A far more pleasant experience!