Lumsden midwife cover remains in place for another month

Hamish Walker
Hamish Walker
A temporary midwife installed in Lumsden to help ensure 24/7 midwife care in the Northern Southland town has had her contract extended by a month.

The midwife was brought in as a stop-gap measure, to work out of the former Lumsden Maternity Centre, after a meeting of parties involved in the bitter dispute over maternity services in the area.

The centre, once a primary birthing unit, was controversially revamped as a maternal and child hub as part of a region-wide review of maternity services by the Southern District Health Board.

A Parliamentary select committee has strongly criticised the way the SDHB handled the change in service provision; the board has commissioned independent reviews of the process, and also of several emergency births in the area soon after the transition to a hub.

Clutha Southland MP Hamish Walker said approval for the midwife to spend another month in Lumsden was welcome news.

''For the rural mothers and babies, this will hopefully provide some comfort that the SDHB is not walking away, as it has done for the past 18 months,'' he said.

''The four-week extension will provide some peace of mind for the interim as a permanent solution is hopefully worked out.

''I'm pleased the DHB is doing what it said it would in extending the contract to protect rural mothers and babies.''

Discussions are still talking place between locals, midwives, local government and the SDHB about how to provide permanent midwife cover in Northern Southland.

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