Lumsden’s downgraded ‘maternal and child hub’ is not fit for purpose and Government MPs are blocking the reinstatement of Lumsden Maternity Centre, Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker says.

“The Health Select Committee released a report on my Save the Lumsden Maternity Centre petition today, raising serious concerns for the new hub model implemented in Southland.

“The HSC was ‘not assured the regraded hub was fit for purpose at the time the Lumsden centre was downgraded’ – reiterating what I’ve been saying for months.

“Just last week, Mark Patterson and Liz Craig, our local list MPs, voted against an inquiry which would’ve held Southern District Health Board to account because they’ve put politics before the welfare of Southland mums and babies.

“Despite the HSC’s findings, it’s evident Government MPs are satisfied with the current situation in Southland and are continuing with the rollout of the hub model.

“National’s view is clear: the downgrade was a mistake and has put mums and babies at risk. Southland mums should have access to safe maternity care – this means full services in Lumsden.

“Four women have already given birth in emergency situations, unable to make it to a primary birthing unit as a result of the downgrade.

“The situation is such that Southern DHB has agreed to provide a short-term midwife based in Lumsden out of concern for the safety of our rural mothers and babies – effectively accepting that Lumsden needs a fully-serviced maternity unit.

“Patterson and Craig have said they’d do all they could for Southland mums and babies, but actions speak louder than words.

“It’s time for the Government to step up and reinstate full services.”

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