Birth data was the only information considered in the decision to downgrade the Lumsden Maternity Centre, despite the Service Coverage Schedule requirements, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.
“In the briefing the Health Minister and Associate Health Minister received last year on July 4, a key concern which was highlighted was the Service Coverage Schedule,” Mr Walker says.
“The Service Coverage Schedule requires DHBs to fund primary maternity facilities in rural communities – where 100 or more pregnancies per year are estimated are estimated the funded facility must be within 60 minutes from a secondary service.”
“The Lumsden Maternity Centre meets both criteria.”
“The Southern District Health Board Primary Maternity Decision Documents constantly talks about the number of births at Lumsden, with about 40% of pregnant women in what the DHB defines as the catchment, giving birth at Lumsden.”
“This is compared to the national average of just 9% of women who birth at a primary birthing unit.”
“The Service Coverage Schedule requires a facility for 100 or more pregnancies, not births, even though it is births constantly referred to.”
“The Lumsden Maternity Centre serviced an area the same size as Tasman and 1.3 times the size of Taranaki.”
“Even still the Minister has ignored the risks highlighted to him and downgraded the centre.”
“It’s time he righted the wrongs and gave mother and babies in rural Southland the maternity services they are entitled to.”