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That from the NZ College of Midwives Central Region Chairperson, Tungane Kani who supports women, midwives and others in the wider community taking to the street at midday on Monday in Palmerston North.
A protest march aims to highlight concerns around a proposal which would see full maternity services removed from Whanganui Hospital, requiring women who need acute obstetric care to travel to Palmerston Norrth Hospital, an hour away from Whanganui. The march will begin in Palmerston North Square and the plan is to march to the DHB from the square.
“Midwives in our regions are deeply concerned that this proposal will put women, families, midwives and communities under additional stress, in both Whanganui and Palmerston North,” she says. “Our women and their families deserve so much better.”
Within the MidCentral region, serviced by Palmerston North Hospital, Kani says to date there has been little meaningful engagement with women and the wider community, including midwives and other maternity health professionals and she says they will be significantly affected by the proposal.
”We, as maternity health professionals, are concerned about the reality of what will eventuate if this proposal goes ahead,” the NZCOM Central Region Chair says and she and her colleagues are supporting the community by marching in Palmerston North on Monday, in the hope of highlighting their concerns around the proposal.
“These communities are already under pressure. It is unacceptable to add to that by removing full maternity services which could see around 400 Whanganui women having their babies in another area, leaving their whanau and support behind them,” she says. “This proposal does not encourage positive outcomes, and that is what we as midwives are all about, providing the very best outcomes for our women and babies.”
Kani says ‘continuity of care’ is so important to the positive outcomes and overall maternity experiences of women in New Zealand, and it is this cornerstone of the maternity system that is at risk by taking women more than hour away from their LMC midwife. For those women who have problems during their pregnancy, it is possible they wouldn’t return to Whanganui until after their baby is born.
“We are dismayed that the cultural ramifications of this proposal seem to have been totally ignored,” she says.
ENDS For more information contact Ali Jones on 027 247 3112.
A full fact sheet is available at www.midwife.org.nz
Additionally, a hikoi is to be held in Whanganui on Weds 4 April. Time: 2pm Place: From Taupo Quay to Majestic Square. Estimated to take 40-45 mins. All welcome.