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Central Otago mothers could be left with nowhere to birth in the wake of a staffing and funding crisis at Charlotte Jean maternity hospital, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

“I’m extremely concerned to hear that this primary maternity facility, in Alexandra, has been closed down for the day on at least two occasions recently, leaving local mothers with nowhere to birth.

“This is unheard of and totally unacceptable for Central Otago women.

“One mother, who is due to have her baby in four weeks, has contacted me worried that the hospital may not be operating when it is time for her to deliver and a local midwife has also told me of her concerns.

“I totally understand these fears and think it’s unacceptable that Central Otago mothers should be put in this tenuous position.

“There have been concerns around staffing levels at Charlotte Jean for at least a month now.

“And it’s totally unacceptable that the Southern DHB and Charlotte Jean maternity management have allowed this crisis to remain unresolved to the point where the maternity unit has been forced to close.

“This maternity hospital serves a wide area across Central Otago, and including Wanaka, with many pregnant women relying on its services. It must be restored to full operation before the safety of these women is compromised.”

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