The National MP for Clutha-Southland, Hamish Walker, is calling on Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to urgently intervene on Southland maternity services after a baby was born in the carpark of the Lumsden maternity hub today.
Mr Walker says it's the third emergency birth since the Lumsden Maternity Centre was downgraded in April to a 'maternal and child hub', with all three mothers unable to make it to a primary birthing unit.
He says today’s birth in the carpark must prompt action by the Government.
"The Prime Minister needs to urgently intervene for the safety of rural mothers and babies in Southland," he said.
"Today’s birth progressed so rapidly the mother had to give birth in the car park of the Lumsden maternal and child hub.
"If the maternity centre had not been downgraded there would have been a second midwife on site, which would have dramatically increased the mother’s chances of making it inside to give birth," he said.
"Within a couple of hours she was also discharged with there no longer being any post-natal care at the maternal and child hub," he added.
Earlier this month, Mr Walker said a baby was born in Lumsden without making it to a birthing unit, and that incident came 11 days after a mother gave birth on the side of the road.
"The downgrade of the Lumsden Maternity Centre is resulting in anxious mothers worried about where they will end up giving birth, whether it be in a car park, the side of the road or the primary birthing unit more than an hour away," he said today.
Mr Walker said it's not only the physical health and safety of these women that needs to be taken into consideration but also their mental health, as they are being placed under immense stress.
The MP said the "hub model" is clearly not fit for purpose and National has already announced that if re-elected next year it will reinstate full services at the Lumsden Maternity Centre.