Queenstown mothers will be given more post-natal time with
their babies in Lakes District Hospital under changes to be
introduced by the Southern District Health Board in about six
The board yesterday announced changes to make sure an
in-patient, post-birth care service was available year-round
for mothers giving birth in the Frankton hospital, or
transferred from another maternity centre.
Director of midwifery Jenny Humphries told the Otago Daily
Times offering around-the-clock care would be a major
improvement for Wakatipu mothers.
''Currently, it is not always possible for us to provide
post-natal care for women wishing to use the service, due to
limited staff availability,'' Ms Humphries said.
''This means mums and babies have to go elsewhere for
post-natal care, or are unable to return to Lakes District
Hospital after having their baby.
''We're looking at moving staff from our LMC [lead maternity
carer] midwifery care way of operating into a greater
capacity to staff our inpatient area.
''At the moment, the staffing availability has been somewhat
erratic, but we're looking at having permanent people
available on a rostered basis, 24/7, 365-days a year in the
Asked what prompted the change, Ms Humphries said lead
maternity carers were historically employed as midwives in
the Wakatipu because there were not many self-employed
midwives in the area.
Lakes District Hospital was one of the last hospitals in New
Zealand to provide a LMC service with employed midwives, she
''We have been doing this when it has not been required in
the rest of the country, so now the Queenstown Lakes district
is in a position where there are a number of self-employed
midwives in the area who can provide this service and we no
longer as a DHB have to provide that service, so we can
concentrate on providing a really good inpatient post-natal
service for women.''
Between 50 and 70 babies are born in Lakes District Hospital
every year, a fraction of the number of babies born to women
who live in the Wakatipu.
Plunket birth figures estimated about 300 children will turn
5 in 2014.
Ms Humphries said she hoped the improved and consistent
maternity services would give more mothers-to-be the
confidence to give birth in the hospital in Frankton, close
to home and family, instead of travelling to another faraway
primary unit, or Invercargill or Dunedin hospitals.
The new service model was expected to change board-employed
midwife roles and consultation is under way with maternity
unit staff, the Midwifery Employee Representation and
Advisory Service and the New Zealand Nurses' Organisation.