"The model is broken" - SDHB CEO Chris Fleming

by Peter Newport - May 27, 2019

Southern DHB Chief Executive Chris Fleming has told Crux that the funding model for independent midwives (Lead Maternity Carers or LMC's) is broken, but he is short on answers to the crisis that has been dramatically described over the past few days by multiple medical professionals.

In an extensive interview, Mr Fleming acknowledged concerns over shortcomings in the local maternity system, especially after the birth on Sunday morning (May 26th) of a baby in an ambulance only minutes from the recently closed Lumsden Maternity Centre. Both the mother and baby survived the incident but it has prompted an angry letter from local MP Hamish Walker to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern calling for immediate action.

Both Chris Fleming and the Minister of Health have defended the situation saying that mothers and midwives "need to plan ahead."

But defending the current maternity system Mr Fleming said more money, not less, was being spent on maternity services and "teething problems" were plaguing the roll out of a new maternity hubs that midwives have said are under-equipped and not even wanted.

Mr Fleming said that more midwives was the immediate answer he was seeking, not improved faculties, medical services or buildings.

We have carefully edited the full interview from 35 minutes down to 16 minutes in order to cover the main points in a reasonable period of time. We ask that you watch the interview in full and let us have your feedback. Tomorrow (May 28th) we will publish an in depth look at the state of maternity services in Lumsden and Te Anau, where local GP Dr Mathew Stokes is reduced to tears by what he sees as the tragedy of Lumsden Maternity Centre being downgraded.

Thanks to our production partners Storyworks and New Zealand On Air.



Watch: A Labour of Truth


Read: Q'town midwives "We need a new hospital"

Read: "It will take a tragedy to produce a solution."

Read: Mayor: Maternity Crisis "Incomprehensible."

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