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Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean is calling on the Government’s Health Select Committee to put the interests of Wanaka mothers and babies to the forefront of its recommendations to the Health Minister when it considers a petition from the area signed by over 3800 people.

“The maternity situation in Wanaka is serious, to the extent that there is only one working midwife in a town with a population of over 6500, with up to 200 births predicted this year.

“I presented the petition calling for the creation of a sustainable model for Rural Community Midwifery in the Wanaka region to Parliament in May and it is currently before the Health Select Committee.

“The Health Select Committee must acknowledge this crisis by recommending to the Health Minister that Wanaka immediately gets its own birthing unit, with the funding model for Rural Community Midwives updated so that a sustainable service can be provided in the Upper Clutha region.

“I continue to be deeply concerned at the issues Wanaka mothers are facing, with the lack of appropriate birthing facilities and a dire shortage of working midwives in the area clearly unsustainable.

“I do not believe there is another area in the Southern DHB’s district which is facing such a maternity crisis and I would hope that the Health Select Committee makes urgent and forthright recommendations to the Minister around this.

“Given the seriousness of the situation and the promises made by David Clark in the lead-up to the election, it defies belief that he continues to sit back and do nothing for this community.”

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