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MidCentral DHB Preparing For Midwife Strike Action

The Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service (MERAS) union has given MidCentral DHB notification of its members’ intention to take part in strike action.

MERAS midwives will strike on Wednesday 11 August for eight hours from 11am through to 7pm. The strike notice includes a full withdrawal of labour at all MidCentral DHB birthing facilities, including Palmerston North Hospital, Horowhenua Health Centre and Te Papaioea Birthing Centre.

Chief Executive Kathryn Cook said the safety of mothers and their babies was most important and the maternity unit at Palmerston North Hospital and maternity services at Horowhenua Health Centre will be open with a midwife available.

“Contingency planning is well underway to ensure safe facilities for birthing continue and MERAS members have agreed with the DHB on the conditions for Life Preserving Services (LPS), in case of any emergency during the strike notice,” Ms Cook said.

Ms Cook said the DHB respects the midwives right to take strike action and appreciates the patience and understanding of the community and DHB staff.

Some electives and procedures had been deferred due to the strike action but Executive Director of Nursing and Midwifery Celina Eves said women preparing for childbirth should come to any scheduled appointments, unless contacted to have them postponed.

“The key priority during the strike period is ensuring the continued safety for women and their babies, whānau and staff. If you go into labour during the strike, please seek assistance from your lead maternity carer and continue to follow your normal birth plan,” Ms Eves said.

“We know this is a stressful time for expectant mothers and their whānau. If your birthing plan includes coming to one of our facilities, then please know that we are here for you.”

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