Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says she has asked the Prime Minister to urgently review Wanaka maternity services, after an Otago woman was forced to give birth on her midwife’s floor and more stories of emergency births are surfacing.
“I’m calling on the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to urgently review maternity services in Wanaka before more mothers and babies are put at risk.
“The Prime Minister has promised to take a look at the future of the Lumsden Maternity Centre, after a baby was born on the side of the road, but the lack of maternity services in Wanaka is equally as pressing.
“Wanaka is one of the most remote areas in the country. Mothers have no access to a local birthing unit, their proposed maternal and child hub won't be opened for another six months and they are three and-a-half hours away from their nearest base hospital.
“Maternity services in the Upper Clutha are virtually non-existent and it’s only thanks to good luck and the goodwill of the area’s overworked midwives that a tragedy has been averted.
“The Southern DHB has information from Statistics NZ, showing the number of birth age women in Central Otago, including Wanaka, is set to increase between 2018 and 2043, resulting in a projected 17-18 per cent rise in live births and yet it has done little to acknowledge that growth, or prepare for it.
“Meanwhile, both the Southern DHB and the Health Minister have claimed maternity services in Wanaka have improved, but local mothers and midwives tell me they don’t agree and their voices are getting louder every day.
“As a result, I am appealing to the Prime Minister, on behalf of Wanaka mothers and babies, to address this situation as soon as possible. This community needs urgent help.”