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Government votes against inquiry into Lumsden Maternity Centre downgrade

The Government's voted against an inquiry into the downgrade of the Lumsden Maternity Centre.

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Since the primary birthing unit was changed to a maternity hub, babies have been born in an ambulance and in the facility’s carpark. Source: 1 NEWS

The Health Select Committee announced its decision today after months of delays.

National MP Hamish Walker, who put forward the motion, said he was disappointed with the decision.

"They are only looking into the circumstances that led to the roadside birth and the roll out of the hub model. They are not looking into the downgrade decision because they know it is the wrong one," Mr Walker said.

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Recent changes to the district saw the closure of the Lumsden Maternity Centre. Source: 1 NEWS

The Lumsden Maternity Centre was downgraded to a maternal hub in April - meaning it's not staffed full-time and is mostly used for ante-natal care and at times, emergency deliveries.

Since then, four women have had emergency births at the centre, including one baby born in the back of an ambulance and another in the facility's carpark.

"We’ve received nothing more than lip service from our local list MPs, who are obviously quite content with mothers and babies safety being put at risk," Mr Walker said.

"Voting down this motion is absolutely ludicrous given four mothers have given birth in emergency situations."

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The Lumsden Maternity centre was downgraded to a hub last year, meaning the mum had to try make it over an hour away to Invercargill to give birth. Source: 1 NEWS

However, New Zealand First MP based in Clutha-Southland, Mark Patterson said the decision would not distract the Government from working hard to get the best outcome for Southern mums.

"National's motion was an exercise in looking backwards and raking over the coals," he said. "We are focused on finding acceptable solutions and to hold the DHB to account by ensuring they deliver on their undertaking to the community."

The committee is still considering Mr Walkers petition to reopen the centre. A decision is expected next week.