The public got a closer look at plans for the new Clyde birthing unit at two community feedback sessions earlier this week.
    The 550sq m unit unit includes two birthing rooms, postnatal stay rooms, whanau room and community space and will be built on vacant land next to Dunstan Hospital.
    It is one of two primary birthing units announced for the Central Lakes area back in November 2020 after more than a year of public outcry from midwives and mothers concerned about the standard of maternity services.
    This year, Te Whatu Ora Southern announced the purchase of a Wanaka facility, which is the first stage of the Wanaka Primary Maternity Unit project.
    The sessions gave the opportunity to view the initial designs and gain insights in to the look and feel of the unit, as well as provide feedback.
    Te Whatu Ora Southern acting service manager — primary maternity Hannah Gentile said she was enthused to see the community support for the unit.
    ‘‘Communities differ in their use of facilities and services. There is no ‘one size fits all’. Allowing communities to guide us on how they will use a space is ideal to ensure a building or service is utilised to its fullest,’’ she said.
    ‘‘The feedback so far has been positive towards the areas we knew we needed to get right including flow to outdoor spaces, areas for visiting family, as well as safety and privacy aspects of the facility. Midwifery professionals have been engaged throughout the design phase and their response to the functionality of the spaces is positive too.’’

An artists render of the Clyde Birthing Unit, one of two new primary birthing units to be built in the Central Lakes area

    With the developed design phase now completed, the focus is now on detailed design, she said.
    It was hoped tenders for building contractors would open towards the end of the year.
    ‘‘There is a bit more work now with local Maori provider Uruuruwhenua and their wider whanau to elevate the primary birthing unit from a functional, inviting, and safe design in harmony with its natural landscapes, to one that also embodies the Central Otago spirit. As a community stakeholder put it, many people come to this area leaving behind their connection to wider whanau, the primary birthing unit needs to connect them to this land and enable them to establish roots for their young family in our region.’’