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The Southern District Health Board will have to do much more in Wanaka than announce the location of its much-delayed Mother and Child Hub if it wants to address maternity issues in the Upper Clutha, Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean says.

“Let’s not get carried away here - this proposed Maternal and Child Hub is NOT intended as a place for birthing, unless there’s an emergency.

“The reality is that Wanaka mothers are really no better off and still face having their babies outside of their community, with a three-and-a half hour drive to their nearest base hospital in Dunedin.

“Why do you think the Lumsden community is so up-in-arms about their maternity centre being shut down and replaced with one of these ‘Maternal and Child Hubs’ – it’s because people know that they are just a halfway house, with the real birthing facilities located somewhere else.    

“What’s worse - this proposed hub has been in the pipeline for over ten months now, so announcing its new address really does nothing more than reflect how slowly the Southern DHB has acted in Wanaka.

“This hub will only provide basic midwifery equipment, accessible to LMC midwives in the case of an emergency, its primary objective is simply be to support women and babies’ ante and postnatal.

“There is a clearly identified need for a full Birthing Unit in Wanaka, based on existing population growth data, and the Southern DHB should be getting on with the job of developing one now, not promoting a trade-off Maternal and Child Hub as a new solution.”

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