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Prime Minister must reinstate services at Lumsden

27 May 2019

Today I’ve written to the Prime Minister calling on her Government to stop discriminating against rural communities and reinstate full services at the Lumsden Maternity Hospital after a baby was born on the side of the road, MP for Clutha-Southland Hamish Walker says.

“It’s clear the hub model the Government proposed after downgrading the maternity centre is not fit for purpose as it removes birthing services and only provides pre and post-natal care in Lumsden and Te Anau.

“The Government has continuously ignored pleas from midwives and the community to keep the maternity centre open as a primary birthing unit for more than a year. That’s not good enough.

“The hub was supposed to be equipped to deal with emergency situations, but despite writing to Health Minister David Clark to explain the lack of equipment, which included emergency supplies such as oxygen, nothing has been done.

“The dignity of pregnant women has been stripped under the hub model. Some will be forced to take major delays in getting maternity care, with some mothers having to travel up to 130km to give birth. It’s likely more mothers will be forced to deliver their babies while travelling to hospital.

“The health of mothers and babies are at risk, it’s time for the Minister to act.

“National has promised to reinstate full services at the maternity centre if elected in 2020. We’ve heard the strong outcry from the Southland community, and we don’t want to see another situation like the one yesterday.

“The Prime Minister has said her Government is focused on the ‘wellbeing’ of New Zealanders, but at the same time it’s ignoring the pleas of our community and forcing mothers to deliver their babies on the side of the road.

“I’m calling on the Prime Minister to step in and reinstate full services at Lumsden Maternity Hospital. How many more lives need to be put at risk before this occurs?”

Notes to editors:

Attached: A letter written to Health Minister David Clark on 9 May 2019 and a letter written to the Prime Minister on 27 May 2019.


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