A Word with . . . Jacqui Dean, Waitaki MP

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One step closer to maternity services

Soon-to-be-mums and future mums of the region may soon be able to breathe a sigh of relief following the recent news that the Wanaka and Clyde birthing units are a step closer to reality.

While we aren’t there just yet, the recent confirmation from the Southern District Health Board is a positive step in the right direction.

I’ve fought tooth and nail over the past few years to see appropriate birthing facilities set up in Wanaka and Central Otago, and won’t rest until the services are functioning and
equipped to meet the needs of local women and their families.

My greatest concern has always been the wellbeing of mothers and babies, and the pressure the lack of birthing facilities has been putting on them and their families.

It’s a shame it’s taken this long for the District Health Board to get this far, and I canonly hope that there are no further delays or setbacks.

The heart-breaking stories coming from local mothers that I have been made aware of showed how the situation has escalated.

No pregnant woman should be left in a compromised situation due to the inability of health executives to sort the situation out and a lack of government action.

I have expressed my concerns on multiple occasions to both former health minister David
Clark and current Health Minister Andrew Little, with my most recent correspondence in
April.

I outlined my frustration at the constant delays in decision-making and lack of appropriate
maternity services in this part of the country.

I urged the minister to prioritise filling the void of maternity facilities in the South as the situation had reached crisis point.

Now we wait with bated breath for the Ministry of Health’s approval of capital investment for the build.

I would like to thank local midwives for their hard work and mothers and their families
for continuing to speak up for what is right.

Their banding together over recent years for the sake of all mothers and babies in this region has ensured progress has been made.

I am very aware that the job isn’t done yet.

The problem won’t be solved until fit-for-purpose birthing facilities are up and running, supporting the women of this area.

But we are one step closer and that’s something to be positive about.