With a commitment to maternity and midwifery from National in the lead up to the election, midwives in Huntly and Waihī about to lose their birthing units, are looking forward to hearing from the new Government in the coming weeks.
Bernie Miers says it was great a week or so ago to hear the National Party announcement from Dr Shane Reti (who’s likely to be the new Minister for Health) that would see more women being able to access longer post-natal stays.
“For women to be able to stay longer they need beds, and they need midwives to support them. Both those things disappear when birthing units close and it significantly affects a community as far as staying connected and close to whānau,” she says.
“These birthing units (also called primary units) are where so many women transfer for their post-natal care. The $19 million a year Dr Reti announced recently will help keep these units open so we look forward to hearing some good news soon.”
Birthcare Huntly is due to close at the end of October after the operators (Evolution Healthcare), cited a number of reasons, and Waihī Lifecare Birthing Centre is due to close in another four weeks.
Waihī midwife, Belinda Beetham, says if their local birthing unit closes as currently planned, women will have to travel to Tauranga or Waikato to have their baby and there’ll be no local unit for post-natal care.
“We must not lose the beds we have, in fact we really need more than we have,not fewer. I really hope that this change of government will refocus health on maternity and see properly funded services for women and their babies,” Ms Beetham says.
The weekends election saw National’s Tim van de Molen hold on to his Waikato seat and new MP Te Pati Māori’s Hana-Rawhiti Maipi-Clarke being elected.
A petition to save Waihī’s birthing unit is here https://www.change.org/p/save-Waihī-birthing-
centre and another petition to save the Huntly Birthcare birthing unit (due to close at the end of October) is here https://www.change.org/p/save-huntly-s-birth-unit