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Poor planning separates mothers & premature babies

Premature babies separated from mothers due to poor planning

National is calling on Health Minister Annette King must step in and immediately address a shortage of neonatal beds for premature babies, after reports that many are being moved around the country.

“The shortage of hospital space for premature babies is purely due to poor planning. The growing demand for cots has been known about for many years and this Government has done nothing about it,” says National Health Spokesperson Dr Lynda Scott.

“It is stressful enough to have a premature baby but to then face the crisis of being separated from the family is devastating, especially for mothers. That sort of separation could have lasting traumatic effects.

“This is occurring because the increase in New Zealand’s population size has not been taken into account by this Government.
“All over New Zealand premature babies are being treated like courier parcels and sent away from their mothers in their first days of life.

“We know the country’s 21 district health boards are charged with looking after their patch, but why hasn’t the Ministry of Health, responsible for the overall New Zealand-wide planning of services, planned for more neonatal space and expanding services?

“The Government can afford to continually expand the bureaucrats at the Ministry of Health and pay out $8 million in redundancy yet neonatal babies have no crib at the local hospital. The Minister must justify why this is the case and why the Ministry of Health hasn’t prepared for this latest problem,” said Dr Scott.

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