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New Maternity Service for Turangi Starting Up

News release

Friday 31 January 2014

New Maternity Service for Turangi Starting Up

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L-R: Arthur Smallman, Toni Postlewaight, Kim Gosman, Mary Smallman, Ned Wikaira and Jo Toma, following the launch.

Lead maternity carers Jo Toma and Toni Postlewaight will operate their new maternity service, Awhi Midwives, from a large house in Paekiri Street, Turangi.

The powhiri for the new service was held at the new service’s premises in Turangi late this morning, and the service will open for business on Monday.

The house will run as a maternity drop in centre 9am to 3pm each weekday.

Jo Toma began working in Turangi last year as part of the Lakes DHB team that provided weekly midwifery clinics in Turangi.  She says women in Turangi are really willing to receive new services.  Toni Postlewaight has worked as an LMC in the southern part of the Lakes district for several years.

The two midwives plan to provide a range of support to pregnant women and new mothers in Turangi, whether it is parenting advice, breastfeeding support, help to go smokefree, or whatever else is identified.  They say they have strong support from a range of local Turangi providers as well as volunteers including former karitane nurses and midwives, who are willing to help support parenting and pregnancy information  and education programmes.

There has been strong iwi support for the new venture, provided by a small management support group comprising Ned Wikaira, Mary Smallman and Kim Gosman.

Turangi is a rural area 40 minutes by road south of Taupo, where around 50-70 women each year have pregnancy and early parenting needs.  They need antenatal care delivered in their community, access to Lakes DHB maternity units for delivery, and postnatal care (including early parenting support) in their district after they return home.

In 2013 Lakes DHB conducted a consultation process which identified a gap in maternity and parenting education services in the Turangi area.   Since then the DHB has been working to develop a maternal and child health services integration programme. The strategic direction and service specifications have been approved by the Ministry of Health for this programme.

The new model of maternity care and early parenting education and support that links with existing providers in Turangi will provide women and families with an integrated pathway through pregnancy and early parenting.

Jo Toma says she and Toni Postlewaight strongly believe that there should never be any financial barrier to women contacting their LMC, and they have an 0800 number to help ensure access to their services, 24/7.  The 0800 number for AWHI, the new maternity service in Turangi is 0800 69 4278 (0800 MY HAPU).

Sue Finch, the Clinical Midwife Manager/Professional Advisor for Lakes DHB says the new maternity service is a great step forward and it will be great to have Jo and Toni as independent midwives in the Turangi community.  She says while the DHB has been providing a weekly antenatal clinic in Turangi, the new service will provide greater continuity of service.


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