Burwood birthing unit to close

00:50, Apr 02 2014
Melissa Taurima
'WE'VE LOST ENOUGH': Christchurch mother Melissa Taurima, pictured with baby Isla, started a petition to save the Burwood Hospital maternity unit.

More than 1000 people have signed a petition to save Burwood Hospital's birthing unit, but the Canterbury District Health Board says it will be closing the facility when other services are in place.

Christchurch mother Melissa Taurima started a petition to save the maternity unit to show the city would ''not stand for it closing''. 

Taurima, 27, said the unit had been around ''for years'' and she was concerned there were not many other options for mothers. 

''My mum was born there, I was born there and four weeks ago my beautiful baby girl Isla was born there.''

She praised the ''sweet and kind'' midwives and hospital staff, as well as Burwood's comfortable rooms and free parking. 

''Women need choices and I feel that the people of Christchurch, especially on the east side, have lost enough,'' Taurima said.


''I can't show my daughter the school I went to, the house I grew up in and the places I used to hang out because they have been pulled down. I want to be able to take her to the room she was born in, just like my mum did with me.''

CDHB chief executive David Meates said maternity services needed to evolve to meet the changing needs of Cantabrians into the future.

''There is a limit to how much longer Burwood birthing unit can continue to provide high-quality maternity care,'' he said.

''The plan is for the facility to close, but only when the services of the future are in place.''

Meates said he was confident the facilities that would eventually replace Burwood would be ''equally highly regarded''.

The CDHB aimed to provide modern, flexible and fit-for-purpose health facilities ''into the future''.

''As part of our overall redevelopment plans, we are developing new health hubs and integrated family health centres as local focus points for excellent integrated health care, closer to home and at the heart of the communities where they are needed,'' Meates said.

It was not known how long the Burwood birthing unit would remain open.

The CDHB also had birthing units at Christchurch Women's, Ashburton, Lincoln and Rangiora hospitals. 

Construction was well under way on Burwood Hospital's redevelopment - part of a larger $650 million redevelopment of Christchurch's hospitals following the regions earthquakes. 

The new facility is expected to be finished late next year.

The Press