Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Quick hit: Maternity care cuts in Southland

From Stuff, via FB status of Azelmed:
The time new mums spend at rural maternity homes in Southland could be slashed as the Southland District Health Board proposes to cut funding.

A document leaked to The Southland Times shows the Southland District Health Board is proposing to cut funding by 30 per cent to the Winton Maternity Centre, run by the Central Southland Hospital Trust.

Trust chairman Colin Ballantyne confirmed the board had met with the trust and had proposed some reductions.

"They (the health board) would like to get control of us – it's all about control," Mr Ballantyne said.

If the funding cuts went ahead, the trust could be forced to reduce length of stays at the centre, he said.

The average length of stay was about 3.8 days. This compared with Southland Hospital's maternity ward in Invercargill, where women could be discharged within hours of birth.

Funding cuts are also possible for other rural maternity centres in Southland.
Click through for the rest.

Sounds pretty stink to me, what do you think?


Chris said...

Ok. Some history.

Back when I had my first kid, in NZ women generally stayed in hospital for a week. This meant that they had support in getting over birth, with establishing breast feeding, and they went home when they wanted to.

The wards were run by real midwives. These women (no men) had a nursing degree and then a midwifery qualification. As a male medical student, they terrified me, and they terrified most partners into being decent.

Then... before I had my second kid, Helen Clarke started closing the specailist maternity hospitals. St Helens in Auckland moved to National Womens. The "special nature" was to be preserved. It was not.

Around that time a colleague commented that she would rather have a babe in Chch and Stanford (had one in both places) because Chch had good care and Stanford had nice rooms but she was out 24 hours later.

Then my wife -- who was doing training in neonatal care -- had our first child. She was able to stay in. I remember one of the nurses telling her not be be bullied out -- and letting the babe sleep elsewhere the night before she went home so she could sleep.

By the second child birthing stays in auckland were down to 24 -- 48h. The option of staying had gone.

I agree that what is happening in Southland is bad. It is also the end of a process that has been disadvantaging women for the last two decades, and this has been with the active complicity of the sisterhood.

(And for the home birthers -- the issue is a reduction of absolute level of care, and a reduction in choices. For women. At one of their most vulnerable times).

homepaddock said...

The government increased funding so women could stay at a maternity centre until breast feeding is established.

The hopsitalborad may be choosing not to pass the funding on.