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More mums pay for Labour’s workforce crisis

Katrina Shanks
National Party MP

22 April 2008

More mums pay for Labour’s workforce crisis

“Mums-to-be are paying an increasingly high price for the workforce crisis in maternity services,” says National Party MP Katrina Shanks.

“It has got so bad that women on the West Coast are being forced to travel to Christchurch to get care during their high-risk pregnancies. The West Coast District Health Board can no longer guarantee their safety.”

Katrina Shanks says the board has closed Westport's Kawatiri birthing unit for deliveries on clinical safety grounds, and announced on Friday it had no obstetric and gynaecology available on most days until May 2.

“This comes just a few days after a woman at Wellington Hospital was forced to care for her newborn on a bench in a waiting room next to a public toilet.

“It also follows revelations that more than 4,500 Kiwi mums-to-be will struggle to find a midwife because of nation-wide shortages.

“After ordering 43 reports on the workforce crisis since it came to office, Labour has no solutions to the maternity service shambles.

“Labour has been warned repeatedly that the safety of women and their babies could be put at risk because of the crisis.”

National's health discussion paper Better, Sooner, More Convenient proposes a number of measures to start tackling the health workforce crisis.

They include, moving to medical training self-sufficiency, investigating bonding and student-loan write-offs for health professionals working in hard-to-staff areas, and re-engaging doctors and nurses in the running of the health system.

"Labour has managed to recruit an army of more than 10,000 bureaucrats, but has utterly failed to plan properly for the changing population."


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