Almost 90 per cent of maternity wards in New Zealand hospitals have no senior doctors or consultants on site at night.

The revelations raise questions about patient safety in the event of traumatic or complex births that occur after-hours and require urgent specialist care.

Information provided to the Herald under the Official Information Act showed most senior doctors went home by 5pm with only two hospitals having a consultant on site at all times to deal with complex cases.

Weekend cover was not much better, with senior staff only onsite for morning or evening rounds rounds in six regions while