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Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean is calling on the Prime Minister to urgently address serious safety concerns around inadequate maternity service provision in the Upper Clutha, in the wake of an emotional appeal from a local mother.

“The fear and desperation expressed by Wanaka mother Tui Homer, in her open letter to Jacinda Ardern around the lack of maternity services in the Upper Clutha, reflects the seriousness of the problems there.

“Her concerns are representative of the broader issues facing hundreds of women and their families in a town where just one full-time midwife, and a couple of locums, are literally run off their feet attempting to meet the needs of around 100 mothers.

“This, coupled with the fact that there is no birthing unit and a massive four-hour drive to the nearest base hospital, means there is a disaster waiting to happen in this town.

“The Prime Minister needs to step up now and ensure that her Government supports this community which has been pleading for help for months.

“I have worked with local mothers, we have presented a petition to Government, had meetings with the Southern DHB and written to the Health Minister – but after 12 months of lobbying there has been no substantive change and the concerns have not been addressed.

“This maternity crisis can no longer be ignored – Wanaka’s one full-time midwife is reaching breaking point and there are even more babies due in the area – and the Prime Minister and the Health Minister must act now.

“Labour were very vocal about improving maternity services in Opposition, including saying that health and midwives must be funded properly.

“The time has come for the Health Minister and Prime Minister to do something real to help Wanaka mothers and their babies. The community really can’t wait any longer.”

The letter can be found here.

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