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At least one hundred Wanaka mothers and babies will be unable to use the town’s proposed Maternal and Child Hub facilities because it won’t be open in time, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

“I’m calling on the Southern District Health Board to fast track this facility - they’ve got a location why can’t they get on with urgently opening it.

“Instead the board is claiming that the hub won’t be ready until January next year – but surely they can do better than that.

“In the meantime, at least one hundred Wanaka mothers will give birth between now and December, once again making a mockery of the board’s lack of services in the Upper Clutha.

“What’s worse, when the hub is open, it will still primarily only provide pre and antenatal facilities, with the majority of birthing mothers still needing to use either Alexandra’s Charlotte Jean Maternity Centre, or travel three and a-half hours to Dunedin Hospital.

“I acknowledge local mothers will be pleased to see this hub up and running, but it seems a great shame that at least one hundred of them will miss out on these facilities while the Southern DHB stalls the project.

“Of course I still believe that the best option for the town’s growing population is a full birthing unit.

“In fact, Queenstown Lakes District Council population growth figures for its Wanaka ward show that the number of people living in the Upper Clutha is expected to almost double, from 12,320 residents now, to 24,300 in 2048.

“These figures speak volumes about the growing need for maternity services in Wanaka and reflect the urgency of the situation.

“Let’s face it, if it’s taking 16 months for the SDH board to get their Maternal and Child Hub up and running, how long will Wanaka have to wait for a full birthing unit.”

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