Location of Wanaka maternal hub revealed

Details of the location of the much anticipated Wanaka maternal and child hub have been revealed by an underfire Southern District Health Board.

Having previously said it would be on Gordon Rd, the board today confirmed it had signed a lease for the ground floor space at 21E Gordon Rd, and took possession a week ago.

"The Wanaka facility will be the first custom-created space for a maternal and child hub in Southern's integrated primary system of care and is expected to be operational in the early part of next year," SDHB strategy, primary and community executive director Lisa Gestro said.

The space was appropriate for purpose and would provide comprehensive care to new and expectant mothers, she said.

When the SDHB carried out region-wide survey of maternity service needs, Wanaka residents lobbied strongly for the fast-growing town to have a primary birthing unit.

The SDHB instead opted to create the hub in Wanaka, but with the caveat that it would further investigate if it needed to upgrade to a unit.

In a parliamentary select committee hearing earlier this year Ministry of Health officials said that the primary maternity unit in Alexandra "really should be in Wanaka".

Maternity services in Wanaka have come under further scrutiny this week when Kristi James, a prominent member of the Save Our Wanaka Midwives group, gave birth in her midwife's office.

Mrs Gestro said while the hub was developed, maternal and child services would continue to be provided from the space leased by Southern DHB at the Wanaka Lakes Health Centre.

"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 and gives us options for the future."

The new hub was approximately 90m2.

Mrs Gestro said it would be refitted and would include two, dedicated clinic rooms, an urgent treatment space, a lounge with kitchenette, equipment for e-health consultations, plus supplies and medications for routine and urgent maternity care.

"The emergency treatment space will be capable of accommodating rapidly progressing labours and births," Mrs Gestro said.

"Other potential services, such as a weekly, midwifery drop-in clinic to connect women with local services and provide additional midwifery checks for women with complex pregnancies, as well as peer breastfeeding and parenting support groups, and antenatal and parenting education, could also be delivered from the premises in the future." 

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