Thursday, 01 August 2019 08:55

Rural maternity plea to go before Parliament

Written by  Pam Tipa
Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker. Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker.

Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker hopes a recommendation on the Lumsden maternity centre will go to Parliament this week after health select committee deliberations.

He has also called for an independent review of Southland District Health Board’s (SDHB) decision to downgrade the centre from a birthing unit to a maternal and child hub. That decision was officially tabled at the select committee hearings last week and should be voted on this week.

Walker’s ‘Save the Lumsden Maternity Centre’ petition with 5000 signatures went to Health Minister David Clark in April.

Walker told Rural News he is bound by confidentiality so he can’t talk about what was said at last week’s health select committee meeting. They have heard from a number of experts and hope the committee will report back to Parliament next week.

Walker says SDHB has its own review underway, but looking only at the implementation of the hub model not the strategy itself. That only looks at equipment, staffing, etc, he says.

 “The first line of the terms of reference for the review states that they are not looking at the strategy in terms of how this decision was made.” 

Hence he has called for an independent review of the overall strategy. 

Walker says it is acceptable for the Minister of Health to remain hands off from SDHB until a problem has been raised. 

“Only the Government can save this.  When it was downgraded in early May I wrote to the health minister warning that the emergency equipment in the Lumsden and Te Anau hubs was missing. This posed enormous risk to the rural community because if someone needed to have an emergency birth the basic lifesaving critical equipment was missing,” Walker says. 

“And then we had an unfortunate case in late May. The midwife [decided] when someone came in facing an emergency birth to leave the Lumsden emergency hub because it lacked vital lifesaving equipment. That’s when a mother was forced to give birth under scary degrading circumstances in an ambulance on a rural Southland road.

“In the next month, four ladies gave birth without making it to a primary birthing unit. Risks will remain until full services are returned to Lumsden.”

Walker claims the College of Midwives is so concerned that they will fund a 24/7 second midwife based at Lumsden. But the SDHB has not confirmed whether that midwife based there for emergency births may help out with appointments or post-natal care.

“So it is already halfway to being reinstated at the moment. The DHB and the Government need to front up, admit their mistake and reinstate full services.

“There is currently a huge risk to rural Southland mums and babies until Lumsden is reinstated, which National has pledged to do if we are elected government next year.”

» Connect with Rural News

More like this

The cold, hard facts

Could pesticides and genetically engineered food be causing rising health issues in children?

Rural women and babies at risk

“Women's and babies’ lives are at risk and we want action,” says Penny Mudford, Rural Women New Zealand (RWNZ) national chair.

Bridging the gap in rural health care

Professor Jane Mills, pro vice-chancellor of Massey University’s College of Health, explains how the future for rural health in NZ is positive.

» The RNG Weather Report

Featured

Making it OK to ask for help

Meat processing company Alliance has started an employee support programme aimed at getting colleagues to look after each other and keep an eye out for possible mental health issues.

 

Johnstone bows out on top

When Lachie Johnstone first started on the board of Farmlands 19 years ago the rural services cooperative ran 32 stores with a turnover of $280 million.

‘Useful’ recruitment tool

Employers say a Government-backed free website, Work the Seasons, is becoming a useful part of their seasonal recruitment toolbox.

» Connect with Rural News

» Connect with Rural News

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Logging spin

OPINION: The Hound notes that the foreign-owned and controlled NZ forestry industry is starting to feel the pressure of the…

EU waste

OPINION: This old mutt was interested to read a recent New York Times expose of the European Union’s agriculture subsidy…

» Connect with Rural News