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Review of maternity services in Taranaki fails

Review of maternity services in Taranaki fails the test of generations
21 January 2003

"The recent report commissioned by the Taranaki District Health Board to review maternity services in the region, fails to recognise the needs of rural families/whanau," said Parents Centre Chief Executive, Viv Gurrey.

"The review is fundamentally flawed because it fails to acknowledge the reality of rural parents. I am hopeful that good sense will be heard at the Public meeting tomorrow, Thursday 22 January, at the War Memorial centre in Statford starting at 7pm.

"Supporting rural health services is about resourcing families within their communities. Parents need to be supported and educated within the home environment, not sent hither and yon for basic services and support.

"Maternity services are a core service, and should only be improved upon - not eroded."

"Proposed closures are based on demographic trends and financial costs and are an abject failure to acknowledge the effects of travel on seasonal and low socio-economic communities, as well as the potential for demographic trends to change - again.

"The review process has failed to recognise the human factor in the efficiency equation."

"The erosion of local communities through the closure of schools and hospitals, particularly maternity and birthing units is an affront to the well-being of New Zealand families. Communities are where families live - where they work, play, learn and die. It is also where people look out for each other, even though it might not be cost effective to do so.

"Recommendations to close maternity services based on the trend of a single generation is short sighted and will only shift the cost from one generation to another. The responsibility to provide for and support our children and our grandchildren should not be shifted by a single wave of Treasury thinking, said Mrs Gurrey.

"Any proposals concerning the provision of maternity services in Taranaki, as with every other region, should be about maintaining and improving quality services and their accessibility throughout the region. The closure of core services is socially ignorant and mean spirited."

"A decision to close local maternity services would only continue a legacy of selfish decision-making." Mrs Gurrey added.


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