Tuatapere birthing deal with DHB inked
The Waiau Health Trust has secured a three-year contract with the Southern District Health Board to continue maternity services from the Tuatapere Hospital, the trust chairwoman announced yesterday.
The hospital has been trialling a new model of maternity care in Tuatapere that gives the five independent midwives in Western Southland full access to hospital facilities so women can give birth in the town and not have to drive an hour to Southland Hospital.
Chairwoman Michelle Wilson said she received an email on Monday from the board's finance and funding executive manager Robert Mackway-Jones saying the board was pleased with the way the trial had gone and confirmed the trust would be contracted for providing the lead maternity care (LMC) model.
Until this week, it was uncertain if the health board would enter into a new contract with the trust.
"It's been the outcome we were hoping for."
The trust would renegotiate with the board in three years.
Save Tuatapere Maternity Action Group chair Lorelee Clarke said the group was thrilled with the announcement, which came after nine months of negotiations with the health board to keep birthing services in the town, after it was deemed financially unsustainable.
A town protest was held in March and a petition circulated by the Save Tuatapere Maternity Action Group to keep services in Tuatapere.
A trial of the LMC model began eight months ago giving women more freedom to choose their midwife, who receives funding from the Government. Without overhead costs of paying each midwife as an employee, the hospital was able to continue with the $157,000 of funding from the health board to provide services for about 25 births and 50 post-natal stays a year.
Previously the trust received about $177,000.
Trust operations manager Justin Lewis said 2011 had been one of their busiest years and 2012 was shaping up to be similar.
At least 70 births and post-natal stays - were forecast for the financial year, which runs from April.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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