More birthing cen­tres sought


More than three-quar­ters of Cen­tral Otago’s preg­nant women gave birth out­side the district in the last year.

A lead­ing mid­wife claimed there was more sup­port for skiers with bro­ken legs than for birthing emer­gen­cies in the re­mote area. More birthing fa­cil­i­ties and bet­ter trans­port op­tions for com­pli­cated preg­nan­cies could re­duce risk for moth­ers and ba­bies.

Of the 570 Cen­tral Otago women who gave birth be­tween July 2015 and June 2016, just 133 did so at Cen­tral Otago ma­ter­nity fa­cil­i­ties. Most of these were at Lakes District Hospi­tal in Queen­stown and Char­lotte Jean Ma­ter­nity Hospi­tal in Alexan­dra. Another 437 women trav­elled out­side the district.

New Zealand Col­lege of Mid­wives mid­wifery ad­vi­sor Norma Camp­bell said Queen­stown and Wanaka were grow­ing quickly and the area was pop­u­lar with young fam­i­lies.

De­spite this grow­ing pop­u­la­tion, she said, the South­ern District Health Board had not in­creased sup­port for mid­wives work­ing in Cen­tral Otago.

There were pri­mary birthing units in Queen­stown and Alex- an­dra, but Camp­bell said there should also be one in Wanaka.

The Min­istry of Health re­quires DHBs to fund a pri­mary ma­ter­nity cen­tre in ar­eas more than an hour away from se­condary or ter­tiary care where there are over 100 preg­nan­cies a year.

‘‘There has been a catch­ment of over 100 preg­nan­cies for a num­ber of years in the Wanaka area but no ap­par­ent plans to set up a pri­mary unit,’’ said Camp­bell.

The re­gion’s mid­wives met with the SDHB ma­ter­nity man­agers early in Novem­ber to dis­cuss their con­cerns about the trans­fer ser­vice for re­mote ar­eas.

‘‘De­spite as­sur­ances that their is­sues would be ad­dressed within two weeks of the meet­ing, this has not oc­curred,’’ said Camp­bell.

SDHB ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of plan­ning and fund­ing San­dra Board­man said both pri­mary ma­ter­nity fa­cil­i­ties in the area had ca­pac­ity for more pa­tients.

‘‘Our pri­mary ma­ter­nity ser­vices review is con­sid­er­ing what’s the most ap­pro­pri­ate con­fig­u­ra­tion for ru­ral pri­mary birthing ser­vices, in­clud­ing ad­dress­ing the Min­istry of Health’s ob­jec­tive to in­crease pri­mary birthing across the district.’’

Cen­tral Fit­ness own­ers Alex Of­fen and Jonny Roberts.

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