Wednesday, 17 July 2019 10:00

DHB concedes on maternity issues

Written by  Pam Tipa

Southland District Health Board (SDHB) claims it is stepping up its investment in primary maternity services in rural areas.

SDHB’s Lisa Gestro – executive director strategy, primary and community – told Rural News its maternity services in the entire region have already been systematically reviewed. This comes in response to a Rural Women NZ (RWNZ) call for a wide ranging review.

“It has been independently reviewed and found that when fully implemented it will increase services across the district,” she says.

“We’re one year into a two year implementation timeframe. 

“We recognise that some aspects of this have not gone as smoothly as we’d like and are having the implementation to date independently reviewed.”

RWNZ and others -- including signatories of two petitions -- are strongly objecting to the downgrading in April of Lumsden Birth Centre to a maternal and child hub and several subsequent emergency births at the centre, one in the carpark.

RWNZ has called for urgent reinstatement of the Lumsden birthing centre and has criticised the extent of two current reviews by Southland DHB. But Gestro says a systematic review of primary maternity services across the DHB’s entire, largely rural, district was precisely the exercise done from 2016 to 2018.

“There had long been calls to address the provision of maternity services across the district,” she said. “In particular, we faced challenges with the sustainability of the lead maternity carer (LMC) midwifery workforce.” 

Gestro says while LMC midwives are paid directly by the Ministry of Health, SDHB recognises the particular challenges of practising in rural areas require extra support. 

She says the ‘integrated primary maternity system of care’ aimed to take a holistic view to direct resources differently and increase the reach of services across the whole district.

“This meant creating maternal and child hubs in Wanaka, Te Anau and Lumsden to support midwives in those communities and improving integration with primary care services.”

Additional ‘sustainability’ payments are made to remote rural midwives, with 16 LMCs in the district taking the extra payment. 

But Gestro says they need to think more broadly about how best to use their resources to care for rural women and their families.

More like this

Rural Health is sick

Rural people are underserviced by the current health model, according to Dr Fiona Doolan-Noble from the Department of General Practice and Rural Health at Otago University.

Bayer to settle US-based lawsuits

While courts around the world argue through claims herbicide Roundup is carcinogenic, Bayer has agreed to pay out US$10.9 billion to settle US-based lawsuits.

National

Labour pains hurt grower

Despite struggling to find workers, fresh produce grower and trader T&G is still forging ahead with growth plans.

China demands, NZ delivers

Meat Industry Association chair John Loughlin says China is one of the most demanding export markets in the world.

Leaving on a jet plane - again!

Damien O'Connor is planning to head back to Europe again shortly to breathe oxygen into the free trade agreements that…

Machinery & Products

Helps tame the wind!

Amazone's recently released WindControl System automatically monitors and adjusts the spreading pattern to compensate for the effect of the wind…

First Claas patent hits a century

While Claas has registered more than 3,000 patents during its 108-year history, the company is currently celebrating the 100th anniversary…

JD invests in robotics

Global giant Deere and Co has acquired Silicon Valley start-up company Bear Flag Robotics, which specialises in autonomous driving technologies…

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

The Hound

Murky waters

OPINION: Your canine crusader knows there is a great deal of unease - especially in rural NZ - about the…

Who?

OPINION: The refusal of both Damien O'Connor and PM Jacinda Ardern to release some of the correspondence they received about…

» Connect with Rural News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter