SDHB to use locum midwives for Central Lakes

Lisa Gestro
Lisa Gestro
The Southern District Health Board may bring in locum midwives to help cover shifts in the Central Otago and Queenstown Lakes district.

But the move was not ''especially unusual'' and locum midwives had been used to cover other areas in the past, board strategy, primary and community executive director Lisa Gestro said.

The potential arrangement follows several recent periods when short staffing at Lakes District Hospital, in Frankton, and Alexandra's Charlotte Jean Maternity Hospital meant lead maternity carer (LMC) midwives had to arrange their own backup midwives for any births at the facilities.

Both facilities remained open for births during those times, but both also had postnatal services affected due to the shortage of core midwives, employed by the hospitals.

Ms Gestro said this week the board was ''looking at bringing locum midwives in from time to time to support shifts in the Central Lakes area''.

She could not say when and where this would happen, adding 'this is not especially unusual''.

The board used locums from ''from many professional groups, across any number of our services, most of the time''.

''The College of Midwives runs a rural locum scheme to support rural LMC midwives, and this is well utilised. Last year we employed locum midwives to support LMCs in Wanaka ... We are aware there is a shortage of midwives in the Central Lakes community, so this is ... a solution we would look to in these circumstances.''

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