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As the Minister washed his hands with Lumsden Maternity Centre, so did the Southern District Health Board denying requests for interviews with media and refusing to meet with those involved with the centre, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.

Emails reveal the DHB refused interviews with media about the downgrade, instead saying they continued to work with those involved in the centre when they were, in fact, refusing to meet with them.

“On June 8, 2019 the Southern District Health Board was requested to pre-record an interview on Lumsden but declined after saying they were “open to conversations about how to successfully implement the primary maternity system of care and work collaboratively with the LMC (Lumsden Maternity Centre) midwives and others to do so.”

“However on June 6, 2019 the Southern District Health Board declined to attend a meeting with relevant members involved with the Lumsden Maternity Centre, saying “from our perspective we see little value in broader discussion as in our recent experience these meetings turn in to confrontational discussions where decisions that have already been made are relitigated.”

“The comments completely contradict one another showing the DHB was more worried about singing from the right song sheet than fronting up to the people this downgrade has affected.”

“This is reiterated when Southland Mayor Gary Tong has raised his concerns on multiple occasions and the DHB has immediately set on preparing the correct statement in return rather than addressing the concerns.”

“Time and time again numerous groups have requested to meet with the DHB and the Minister, which have been refused.”

“This incompetent Government is more worried about looking like they are doing the right than providing rural mothers and babies with the maternity services they are entitled to.”

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