Researchers at the University of Otago say babies are 30 percent more likely to die under the care of an inexperienced midwife.
The New Zealand College of Midwives is fuming and says the study has no credibility, demanding an apology – but so too is Otago University.
For mums-to-be choosing the right midwife is important, but a new study has linked inexperienced midwives to an increase in baby mortality.
The two-year study looked at 230,000 births between 2005 and 2009, and showed 86 deaths among the group of inexperienced midwives – 21 more deaths compared to the rate for those with more experience.
But the College of Midwives says it will cause unnecessary concern, and the information is based on a false premise which should be ignored.
Professor Beverley Lawton says the findings are so alarming she wants an urgent overhaul of maternity training.
"Particularly a review of whether the midwife should spend some time in hospital before they go straight from training out into the community."
Karen Guilliand, the Chief Executive of the College of Midwives, says the training is already first-rate.
"They're supervised for their first year in practice, they do a four-year equivalent degree and two of those years are almost all clinically with women and babies in hospital and homes."
Prof Lawton wants an apology, but the College of Midwives says the apology should come from her.
The University of Otago has just put out a release standing by its study, saying it's solid and robust, which means there is no sign of either side backing down.