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In just 11 days two babies have been born in the Lumsden area without being able to make it to a proper maternity facility, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.

“Today in Lumsden a local woman gave birth just 55 minutes after calling her midwife. Luckily this baby was born at the Lumsden Child and Maternal Hub emergency birthing facility, rather than the side of the road like two weeks ago.

“This shows just how important the Lumsden Maternity Centre was, as previously it would have acted as a safe and nearby facility for both of these mothers. Having a hub instead of the Maternity Centre meant that in negative one degree weather, the new mother had to wrap up her new born baby to leave for the nearest primary birthing facility, which is about an hour away.

“My petition against the closure gained over 5000 signatures and shows the widespread community support for the maternity centre.

“It’s Southland mothers and babies who are now at risk. No matter how prepared any mother is, when the closest primary birthing facility is over an hour away babies will be born on the side of the road or in the emergency hubs.

“On May 27 2019, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she was happy to take another look at the maternity services in Lumsden, but what has she done since? It’s now time for her to act and reinstate full services at the Lumsden Maternity Centre.

“The hub model is clearly not working and if National is re-elected next year we will reinstate full services at the Lumsden Maternity Centre.”

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