Mayor - maternity crisis "incomprehensible", no solution in sight

by Peter Newport - May 22, 2019

Mayor Jim Boult has admitted to Crux that he finds the current midwife crisis "incomprehensible" with safety concerns leading to 80% of local babies being born in Invercargill or Dunedin.

"Families should be together" Boult told Crux in a wide ranging interview, highlighting the fact that husbands and wives often were separated for the birth of their child because of the need to work while a pregnant partner might spend weeks or even months out of town in order to give birth safely.

The Mayor told Crux that a planned Southern Cross private hospital might provide "an interim solution" to the maternity crisis, but there has been no significant news of this project in 2019. It has been suggested that the SDHB will rent space in this facility but details are sketchy and nothing is confirmed.

Crux has received a large number of alarming accounts from mothers and midwives throughout the district about shortcomings in the current system - shortcomings that have threatened the lives of both babies and mothers. One midwife, Sharon White, told Crux yesterday in a video interview that she had no confidence that a fix would be found before a tragedy takes place.

SDHB Chief Executive Chris Fleming has told Crux that he plans to come to Queenstown next Monday, May 27, for a full interview on the maternity crisis. Crux has asked the SDHB if Mr Fleming would be available to meet with midwives and mothers so he can hear their concerns first hand.

Coverage of this issue was prompted by the publication last Friday of A Labour of Truth, a documentary produced for Crux by Storyworks with funding from New Zealand on Air. You can view A Labour of Truth here.

Watch the full interview with Mayor Jim Boult.

Watch: A Labour of Truth.

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