Letter to the editor | Maternal hub

Re: Wish List for Maternal Hub (WS 24.01.19)

We appreciate the high level of interest our efforts to improve access to primary maternity services are receiving in the Wanaka area and across the district, and that you have highlighted significant progress in your front page article on 24 January. In addition to the examples you gave, we would like to point out several further areas where important progress has been made to support pregnant women and their families.

In Wanaka, a second full-time LMC midwife started practice in November, and a relief midwifery service – comprised of roster of three LMCs - has also been established to provide weekend back-up coverage. This means there are two LMC midwives available at all times to support new and expectant mothers in the Wanaka area.

A monthly telehealth clinic commenced in October, connecting midwives and expectant mothers in need of additional support with an obstetrician at Dunedin Hospital. This well-received service means women can now avoid travel to Dunedin for specialist appointments and advice. Should the need arise, we would work to add more telehealth clinics and possible specialist visits in the future.

LMC midwives in Wanaka have also been among 14 midwives from across the Southern district who have begun receiving additional payments from the DHB in recognition of the additional costs and challenges they experience. This helps to ensure midwifery is a viable and sustainable career choice for the district. And to further support the LMC workforce and other emergency maternity responders, such as rural general practitioners and nurses, we are offering to support their participation in PROMPT - emergency maternity response skills training - in February and November.

We’re also moving ahead with the establishment of a Maternal and Child Hub, starting with the subsidised clinic space for LMC midwives and emergency equipment at Wanaka Medical Centre.

It’s worth reiterating that all hubs are part of an overall network of primary maternity services and are designed to be flexible, and adaptable to the changing needs of the population.

Again, we thank the community for its active support of primary maternity services and we look forward to working with you to provide the best possible care for women and their babies in Wanaka area and throughout Otago and Southland.


Lisa Gestro

Executive Director, Strategy, Primary and Community Directorate

Southern DHB


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