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The Health Minister has distanced himself from the maternity crisis affecting Central Otago and Wanaka, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

“Pre-election David Clark promised families that he would improve maternity services and look after new mums and their babies, but after two years, he’s handed his responsibilities to his Associate Julie Anne Genter instead.

“This move signals to me that the Health Minister feels he has more pressing issues to deal with than the health and safety of mothers and babies in this region.

“I have written to the Health Minister three times this year over the lack of maternity services in Wanaka and Central Otago, and in his most recent response last week he claimed that he and the Government were focussed on ‘ensuring women and babies have access to excellent care’.

“But the service in this region is far from excellent and instead communities are faced with a lack of facilities and a midwife shortage which could see locums being flown in from Christchurch and Auckland to fill the gaps.

“The maternity issues across Wanaka and Central Otago run deep and seeing the Health Minister pass the buck will give local women and their midwives very little reassurance about the future.”

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