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The Minister of Health has admitted that there’s a gap in maternity facilities in Wanaka but seems to think that his Maternal and Child hub will solve it, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

“In a response to a letter from me, outlining the concerns of local midwives, David Clark has admitted that there are ‘gaps across the (SDHB) catchment area’ including Wanaka where there are no facilities for urgent births.

“Despite this admission, he still says he’s been assured by Ministry of Health Officials that local mothers and babies will continue to receive high-quality care.

“I’m astounded that on one hand, the Minister admits that facilities for urgent births are lacking in Wanaka, yet on the other says women are getting the high-quality care that they deserve.

“Something doesn’t add up here and to me, it reflects a Health Minister who doesn’t understand or care to solve the issues with maternity safety affecting the Upper Clutha.

“The Minister mentions the new proposed Maternal and Child Hub to be situated in Wanaka as though it alleviates the concern from the community. However, the Hub will only provide care in the case of urgent births and it will not be a primary birthing unit. This does not meet the region's requirements for maternity care.

“It’s disappointing that a Health Minister who promised so much pre-election continues to fail to deliver.

“His admission that there is a gap in emergency maternity services in Wanaka continues to jeopardise the safety of mothers and babies in the area.

“The Minister has assured me that ‘safe, equitable and sustainable maternity services are a priority for this Government’ which is why it beggars belief that not only will he not act on ensuring security in terms of the availability of midwives, but his decisions to put off a primary birthing unit for Wanaka and downgrade Lumsden Maternity Centre.”

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