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Te Whatu Ora And Wright Family Foundation Partner To Provide Services And Support For Babies And Parents

A new partnership between Te Whatu Ora Capital, Coast & Hutt Valley and the Wright Family Foundation will ensure that unwell pēpi and parents from the Hutt Valley are able to receive specialised whānau-led care and support closer to home.

Te Whatu Ora has taken over part of the Foundation’s lease of the former Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre, which will be repurposed as the District’s first standalone community-based transitional care unit.

“From mid-2023, this unit will enable unwell pēpi and whānau to be supported while transitioning from neonatal intensive or specialist care to primary care. In particular, this will mean Hutt Valley pēpi and parents will not need to stay as long – if at all – far from home in Newtown.

“We recognise the Wright Family Foundation’s role in in the continued provision of services, and we value the relationship between our organisations,” said Te Whatu Ora Capital, Coast & Hutt Valley interim district director John Tait.

The Hutt Specialist Care Baby Unit (SCBU), the Wellington Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and postnatal wards across the District are experiencing increasing demand and often operate at high occupancy. They support a number of pēpi who do not need intensive care, but are not well enough to be discharged.

This puts pressure on NICU and SCBU’s ability to accept further admissions, and separates pēpi from parents – creating barriers to establishing breast feeding, interfering with attachment and mental health, and likely prolonging hospital admission. A transition unit model of care will reduce that, improve outcomes for pēpi, and ease pressure on services across the District.

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“The Wright Family Foundation is thrilled to continue our breastfeeding support, connection of peer groups, and providing extensive wrap around services to whanau,” said Wright Family Foundation founder and CEO Chloe Wright.

“As a social enterprise, we believe that the best outcomes for families can be achieved through the structure of Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand and the nimble application of services that social enterprise can bring.”

The decision builds on the District’s Maternity and Neonatal System Plan that – developed in partnership with staff and the community – sets out a whole-of-system approach to improving maternal and neonatal care for all families in the District. It also represents an opportunity to deliver on part of the plan’s commitment to increase access to primary birthing care, with two rooms being used to provide primary birthing where service demand and LMC staffing levels allow.

“Significant work has gone into getting us to this point. We are confident that utilising the unit in this way will deliver the greatest benefit for the greatest number of pēpi, parents, and whānau in our communities,” John Tait said

“Te Whatu Ora Capital, Coast & Hutt Valley remain committed to the continued delivery of services in the Hutt Valley and to increasing access to, and enhancement of, services for the whanau and communities across our District.”

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