The creation of a permanent maternal and child hub supporting Wanaka LMC midwives and women in their care is a significant step closer with the announcement of the location of the future facility.
Southern DHB has signed a lease for the ground floor space at 21E Gordon Rd, off Ballantyne Road, taking possession on 04 June.
The Wanaka facility will be the first custom-created space for a maternal and child hub In Southern’s integrated primary system of care and is expected to be operational in the early part of next year.
“We are very pleased to have secured an appropriate space where LMC midwives can more comprehensively provide care to new and expectant mothers in Wanaka,” says Lisa Gestro, Executive Director, Strategy, Primary and Community, Southern DHB.
“As we know, the Wanaka property market is particularly challenging, but we’ve stayed focused on finding the right space in the right location and the building we’ve chosen is suitable for the hub and gives us options for the future.”
The approximately 90m2 space will be completely refitted and is expected to include two, dedicated clinic rooms, an urgent treatment space, a lounge with kitchenette, equipment for telehealth consultations, plus supplies and medications for routine and urgent maternity care. The emergency treatment space will be capable of accommodating rapidly progressing labours and births.
Other potential services – such as a weekly, midwifery drop-in clinic to connect women with local services and provide additional midwifery checks for women with complex pregnancies, as well as peer breastfeeding and parenting support groups, and antenatal and parenting education – could also be delivered from the premises in the future.
“It’s exciting to be able to custom create this space for a maternal and child hub and we‘ll work with the community to ensure it meets the needs of LMC midwives and of women who will attend clinics there,” Mrs Gestro says.
While the hub is developed, maternal and child services will continue to be provided from the space leased by Southern DHB at the Wanaka Lakes Health Centre (WLHC).
The monthly telehealth clinics, also run from the health centre, have proven popular as well with more than 30 women taking up an obstetrics telehealth consultation since it began in October.
While a current lack of additional space means the permanent maternal and child hub could not be co-located at the medical centre, Wanaka Medical’s Dr Andrew McLeod says hub services – including urgent care – will continue from the WLHC building in the interim.
“We will continue to work together to enhance primary maternity services in the Wanaka area, ensuring women and their babies are safe and well cared for,” he says.
About the Primary Maternity System of Care
Southern DHB’s integrated primary maternity system of care provides district-wide primary maternity services, including primary birthing units, maternal and child hubs and specialist services at secondary/tertiary hospitals.
In all, the Southern district maternity system is comprised of eight birthing units and five maternal and child hubs to support women and their babies.
In addition to the Wanaka maternal and child hub, there are hubs being developed in Te Anau, Lumsden, Tuatapere and Ranfurly.
Maternal and child hubs are non-birthing units that bring together resources to better support women and babies’ antenatal and postnatal care. While not intended as a planned place for birth, hubs have basic midwifery equipment and are accessible to LMC midwives in case of emergency.
Healthy well women can choose to have their babies at home, or at one of the six primary maternity units in the District, or at a base hospital in Dunedin or Invercargill. Women who birth at base hospital but live rurally can choose to have an inpatient postnatal stay at their closest primary maternity unit.
The six primary maternity units are located at Lakes District Hospital in Queenstown, Gore Health, Oamaru Hospital, Clutha Health First in Balclutha, Winton Maternity Centre, and Charlotte Jean Maternity Hospital in Alexandra.
Women and babies who need additional care from obstetric and neonatal specialists can access secondary and tertiary maternity services at Dunedin and Southland hospitals.
To help support the sustainability of the LMC workforce in the district, the system of care also includes a funding support package for LMC midwives working in remote rural locations, to recognise the additional duties they perform.
The Ministry of Health has endorsed this plan as meeting service requirements and as supporting rural maternity provision throughout the whole district.