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The Health Minister’s office attempted to hide information relating to Lumsden Maternity Centre, which the Southern District Health Board released, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.

Documents released under the Official Information Act revealed the most pressing issue for the downgraded Lumsden Maternity Centre was employing an on-site co-ordinator, which Gore Hospital would employ.

“When initially advertised there were no applications which the Southern District Health board attributed to the ongoing campaign to have the DHB’s decision to downgrade the centre reversed,” Mr Walker says.

“The Minister’s office had hidden this information, blacking it out in an official information act, afraid it would cause more fear and uncertainty for pregnant women in the area.”

“I only discovered the information which had been withheld when I received the Southern District Health Board’s official information act documents.” 

“The Minister was right expectant mothers would be worried – this worry still continues as emergency births continue to happen and women and babies are put in compromising circumstances attempting to make it to the closest primary birthing unit.”

“The Minister should have been honest with the rural Southland community about the DHB’s concerns about staffing the downgraded centre, instead of continuing to try and hide the facts from them.”

“Southland mothers and babies deserve better than this so-called wellbeing Government who don’t care about their wellbeing at all.”

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