Proposed changes to the Southern DHB's model of maternity care mean the Lumsden Maternity Centre would no longer serve as a primary birthing unit and would instead become one of three "Maternal and Child Hubs" in the Southland District.
The Southern District Health Board (DHB) is proposing a new model for community-based maternity services, which would see "Maternal and Child Hubs" created in Te Anau and Lumsden, and existing primary maternity supports enhanced at Tuatapere.
The Southern DHB says these hubs are facilities that would provide antenatal and postnatal care, but no birthing or postnatal inpatient care.
In them there is potential to co-locate with other complementary services, such as breastfeeding support and Plunket.
The Winton Maternity Centre would remain as a primary birthing centre. Birthing units would also continue alongside secondary and tertiary maternity services at Dunedin and Southland hospitals.
In all, under the proposal, the Southern district maternity system would have eight birthing units and five primary maternal and child hubs across Southland and Otago to support women and their babies, working with other complementary community and primary care services.
Southern DHB executive director for strategy, primary, and community directorate Lisa Gestro said the aim of the proposal was to provide district-wide primary maternity services which were clinically sound, sustainable, and supported safe primary birthing.
“The hubs don’t have to be exactly the same in all locations. There is flexibility to adjust the services they provide and we’re committed to working with maternity service providers, trusts, communities and women to co-design services, so they are the best fit for their communities. We need to ensure we have the infrastructure in place that can adapt as needs change.”
The Southern DHB says it is possible, for example, that maternal and child hubs could be scaled up to become primary birthing units if birth numbers and workforce availability change.
The initial focus of implementing the proposal would be on creating the maternity hubs in Te Anau and Wanaka, followed by transitioning of Lumsden to a maternal and child hub.
Later this year, a feasibility study would be undertaken to determine whether a primary birthing unit in Dunedin was appropriate in the future.
Southern DHB says it will also work with the Ministry of Health to ensure their model for resourcing midwives is appropriate and ensures a sustainable midwifery workforce.
The configuration of maternity facilities and services was designed based on women’s birthing, antenatal and postnatal care preferences, population and demographic predictions for the district. The arrangement builds on the Southern DHB’s Primary Maternity Services Project Report, released last June, and the information gathered from a series of district-wide public engagement sessions, which followed in October and November 2017.
The plan for the new system of care is being shared with primary maternity providers and others who participated in engagement opportunities over the past 18 months.
Feedback is open until March 20 before the new model is finalised. Feedback can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Maternal and Child Hubs: Wanaka, Te Anau, Lumsden, Ranfurly, Tuatapere
Primary Maternity Birthing Units: Charlotte Jean Maternity Hospital (Alexandra), Clutha Health First, Gore Hospital, Lakes District Hospital Maternity Unit, Oamaru Hospital Maternity Centre, Winton Maternity and Healthcare
Secondary/Tertiary: Dunedin Hospital, Southland Hospital