Negotiations drag on for Clyde birthing unit build

by Lauren Pattemore - Apr 22, 2024

Those heading a project to build a long-awaited birthing centre in Clyde are still unable to share details of who will build the facility, despite indicating close to half a year ago a decision was imminent. 

It's unclear what has caused the lengthy delay in announcing the contract for who will build the new facility to be located beside the Dunstan Hospital, or when any construction work may begin.

In a new response from Health New Zealand midwifery southern director Karen Ferraccioli, she says that Health New Zealand is currently working through contract approval with the preferred supplier.

"At this stage, Health NZ is still planning to build a purpose-built facility in Clyde."

However, in November 2023, Ms Ferraccioli told Crux her team was in the final stages of a tender process, which she expected to conclude later that month.

At that time, Ms Ferraccioli said she expected more detail on the building design, budget and completion date could be provided to the public along with the contract announcement.

In the absence of construction progress, Ms Ferraccioli says the Central Otago Maternity Unit in Alexandra Hospital - remains open for births and postnatal stays.

When the Clyde birthing unit was anounced, Health New Zealand confirmed it would replace the birthing centre located in Alexandra, formerly the Charlotte Jean Maternity Hospital.

Meanwhile, mothers located in Wānaka remain with limited options to give birth locally in a public health setting as a promised Wānaka facility has also faced significant delays, with an unclear timeframe of the 'second half of 2024' still provided by the government organisation for its opening.

"We are committed to providing the best possible care to families and our team is working hard on developing a new modern fit-for-purpose primary birthing unit for our community in this area," Ms Ferraccioli says.

The then Southern District Health Board made the decision to site birthing facilities in Clyde and Wānaka in November 2020, after extensive consultation with, and campaigning by, local midwives and families. In January 2022, the Ministry of Health committed to funding both projects.

Main image (Supplied): Concept designs for the Clyde birthing unit.

Support Crux Support Crux