New Zealand / Health

Southern DHB 'pushed' into maternity hub announcement

11:32 am on 13 June 2019

Southern DHB's move to lease a space for Wanaka's maternal and child hub is a positive step but not all that is needed, a local advocate says.


Kimberley Davis of Save Our Wanaka Midwives said she was pleased with Southern District Health Board's move but there were some issues with the new space.

"It's not central but Wanaka is quite small.

"It's not collocated with the medical centre which is an issue because the medical centre is where the helipad is and how women get form Wanaka to the nearest hospital in Dunedin."

She said the new space "would essentially expand on" the space midwives already operated out of.

SDHB came under fire earlier this week after a woman had to give birth on an office floor due to not having access to adequate facilities.

Kimberley Davis of Save Our Wanaka Midwives

The new unit would be an emergency birthing unit but not a primary space, which was what the group were advocating for, Ms Davis said.

"It's a positive step in the sense that it's finally seeing the DHB make good on something they promised to us late last year.

"I definitely think that they have been pushed into making an official announcement because of the attention."

No one from SDHB was willing to talk to Morning Report, however in a statement released yesterday its executive director of strategy Lisa Gestro said the facility would be a chance to design a "custom" space.

"As we know, the Wanaka property market is particularly challenging, but we've stayed focused on finding the right space in the right location and the building we've chosen is suitable for the hub."

The space is on the ground floor at 21E Gordon Rd, off Ballantyne Road.

"We will continue to work together to enhance primary maternity services in the Wanaka area," Wanaka Medical's doctor Andrew McLeod said.