Press Release – New Zealand Labour Party
The people of Whanganui need a guarantee from the Government that a proposal to move acute maternity services to Palmerston North is about safety and not simply about saving money, Labour’s Health spokesperson Maryan Street says.Maryan Street
9 February 2012
Service delivery before cost cutting
The people of Whanganui need a guarantee from the Government that a proposal to move acute maternity services to Palmerston North is about safety and not simply about saving money, Labour’s Health spokesperson Maryan Street says.
“As always, the primary consideration in delivering services, and in this case, babies, must always be safety.
“It does seem somewhat anomalous that elective surgery will still be carried out in Whanganui, while acute cases are sent out of town.
“Reassurance that the proposed change is being made to improve services and guarantee protection for mothers and babies lies with the Minister. Given that it could affect up to 400 women a year, it is not just another ‘operational matter’ for him to hide behind,” Maryan Street said.
“There have been problems recruiting and training specialists at Whanganui for some time. It has now reached crisis level.
“The solution can’t be a band-aid approach to what is actually a much larger problem. If the DHBs are only responding to pressure from the Minister to cut costs, then it is the Minister who must take ultimate responsibility for patients’ safety.
“The people of Whanganui must have confidence that, should a pregnancy suddenly develop complications, there are contingencies in place that allow earlier intervention and that take into account additional travelling time to Palmerston North.
“I trust that these issues will be canvassed in the consultation process now underway,” Maryan Street said.