Saturday, November 27

Newly opened Hutt birthing center to be suspended

A charity-run birthing center in Lower Hutt will be suspended next month due to lack of funds.

Newborn baby feet with identification wrist tag name.

Photo: 123RF

Te Awakairangi Birthing Center has 12 rooms for women who have had low-risk pregnancies and plan to have a natural birth.

It was inaugurated in July 2018.

Founder Chloe Wright of the Wright Family Foundation said that while the DHB never promised to fund the center, she thought that once they saw how valuable it was, they would get involved.

“I believed in good faith, and maybe a little foolishly, that when they saw the difference it makes to families and mothers, they would get involved with us.

“So I took that opportunity, but I didn’t really see it as a risk because there is no point in firing a center that is four minutes away, and they have provided incredible support from an incredible staff who can practice midwifery.” skills in the way they are trained to practice them. “

She said the hospital was funded for women to have hands-on deliveries and 48 hours of postnatal care, regardless of whether the women gave birth in the hospital or not.

He said DHB could have offered the center a contract to fund women who were not using the hospital’s services.

“The hospital is funded, they have bulk funding for all the women, their delivery, so they get that regardless, they get that bulk funding and they can choose to do whatever they want with it.

“They can choose to put it in other areas of the hospital, but they are funded so that the woman has that, for non-intervention, deliveries … and of course they could have given us a contract, which would only have been a fee for the service, but not they had no desire to participate. “

He said the foundation had invested $ 5 million in the center in the past three years, with $ 1.4 million in costs in the past year.

“The rent is about $ 300,000 a year, but of course we’ve already installed all the equipment. So we could have worked with [the DHB] in that.

“And they have all that money in there … the $ 9.4 million or so. We found out from an OIA (Official Information Law) that they have spent about $ 35,000 just talking about a plan of what they could do … that’s a shame “.

Wright said the foundation would cancel the center, in the possibility that the government would still fund it.

“We will not remove any of the equipment, we will keep it intact in the hope that the Ministry of Health will protect the funds.”

There are three other centers established by the foundation across the country in Tauranga, Palmerston North, and Manukau counties.

“We have an incredible commitment to the DHB in the Bay of Plenty. We have a commitment in Palmerston North. [but] we have no engagement in South Auckland. “

He said that even though Counties Manukau DHB has not yet been spoken to about funding the center in Māngere, he had no reason to suspect it would find itself in similar trouble.

Hutt Families for Midwives, which had been leading a community petition for DHB to fund the center, issued a public statement saying it was “heartbroken.”

“This is a devastating blow to the whānau who planned to deliver there in the coming months, the staff and midwives who work outside the center, and to the wider community losing a precious facility.

“Our community has clearly said that we need a birthing center to stay in the Hutt. Over 6,000 signatures supported that we should move to a publicly funded model. We call on decision makers to put whānau and babies in it. decision-making center “.

The center would close its door on September 23.

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