Petition for Lumsden tabled after Minister’s inaction
Hamish Walker - MP for Clutha-Southland
13 September 2018
Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker has today presented the petition signed by 5000 people to save the Lumsden Maternity Centre to the Health Select Committee.
“I personally presented the petition to the Minister for Health David Clark in April, thinking he would act promptly to save the centre which is so crucial to rural Southland.
“After five months where there has been no action by the Minister, I made the decision to present the petition to the Health Select Committee. Now that petition has been tabled, the Select Committee has the opportunity to independently examine the decision to downgrade the Lumsden Maternity Centre.
“Our efforts so far to convince the Health Minister and the Government of the need for these services have clearly been ignored in favour of other priorities like $2.8 billion for their fees free bribe.
“What’s worse is that neither the Minister, the Ministry, nor the reviewers who informed the decision to downgrade the centre took the time to travel to Lumsden and see for themselves how vital the centre is to the rural Southland community.
“This Government’s decision to cut services at Lumsden puts Clutha-Southland mothers and babies at risk. Our mothers will be forced to take major delays in getting maternity care, with some having to travel up to 130km to give birth.
“This should not be an acceptable situation for Southland mums and it is completely avoidable if the centre could simply retain its full services.
“With population growth in the region set to increase significantly and approximately 1000 new homes planned for the Kingston housing development, our need for maternity services close to home will be more crucial than ever.
“Last month, National’s Health spokesperson Michael Woodhouse I met with directors of the Lumsden Maternity Centre to discuss our next steps. Michael and I are fighting very hard for this wonderful facility and will continue to do so.
“I am not backing down on the fight to keep the Centre with full services. The presentation of the petition to the Health Select Committee will keep this issue in front of the Government and enable us to continue the fight.”