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Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says she is disappointed inaccurate comments by the Southern District Health Board’s CEO have further inflamed the Wanaka maternity services debate.

“Chris Fleming has bumbled his way through this issue and instead of calming the nerves of the Wanaka community, he had only served to aggravate and incense local mothers.

“Kristi James had no choice but to birth her baby on her midwife’s office floor because there were no other available options.

“Despite Mr Fleming’s suggestions, there is no Mother and Child hub in Wanaka.

“About 16 months ago the Southern DHB promised to establish a one in Wanaka, but it still doesn’t exist and I’ve been told the Gordon Road facility won’t be ready till December.

“There is also no primary birth equipped procedure room at Wanaka Medical Centre.

“In fact, there are no 24-hour maternity services available in Wanaka, nor are any planned by the Southern DHB.

“To also suggest the birth of this baby in an office came down to a lack of ‘forward planning’ is insensitive and insulting because Kristi had made plans to go to Dunedin - it was just that her baby had other ideas.

“Surely Mr Fleming must be aware that most mothers have plans in place prior to the birth of their babies, but more often than not those plans go awry when it comes time to deliver.

“It’s no wonder maternity services in Wanaka are in crisis if this is the understanding of the man heading the organisation which is charged with providing them.

“The Southern DHB is failing rural women with its lack of understanding of the maternity issues that they face.

“And where is Minister David Clark in all of this? He promised improved maternity services for all - but he and his Government have failed to deliver.”

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