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The Southern District Health Board attempted to get staff to alter reports to blame the midwives and mothers for the four emergency births in the Northern Southland area, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.

“Emails released under the Official Information Act reveal the SDHB attempting to direct the review in to the four emergency births to almost blame the midwives and mothers involved, by asking questions like whether it was appropriate the woman was transferred,” Mr Walker says.

“The emails then go on to state “absolutely there can be comments in the report which question the completeness of the hub fit out, but simply relitigating the strategy throughout the review should not be the intent.”

“This was met with alarm bells by a staff member who raised concern that this may be seen “very strongly as challenging the LMC and other professionals involved … or blaming the women in their planning and timeliness to get closer to secondary care or another PBU (primary birthing unit).”

“These same emails reveal the preamble is, in fact, a cut and paste from another mid-implementation review.”

“At this stage, the Health Minister should have intervened and asked questions about the processes being followed by his own department.”

“Despite these attempts, the two damning reviews released still revealed multiple failings by the Southern District Health Board.”

“The Minister needs to take accountability for the lack of faith the community now has is his department following the trail of disaster this information has revealed.”

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