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New Primary Birthing Facility to open in Wanaka

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Te Whatu Ora Southern is delighted to announce the purchase of a new facility to house a Primary Birthing Unit in Wanaka. The Unit, which will incorporate one birthing room and three postnatal stay rooms, is made possible with support from the local Wanaka community and the Ministry of Health.

Hannah Gentile, Acting Service Manager Primary Maternity, Te Whatu Ora Southern, says the new facility will provide a valuable resource which will extend whanau’s place of birth choices in our rural environment. “This beautiful birthing facility is a well-established property and will enable closer-to-home care in a welcoming and comfortable environment.”

“Approximately 180 – 200 women in Wanaka receive care through local Lead Maternity Carers. Te Whatu Ora Southern expects around half of these pregnant people will now choose to birth at the new Wanaka Primary Birthing Unit, dramatically cutting down their travel time to a birthing facility and allowing for midwifery model of care which meets the needs of the community, on their own doorstep.”

Morgan Weathington, Wanaka Maternal and Child Hub Co-ordinator says, “We are so excited to have a Primary Unit in Wanaka. It is an incredible celebration for the midwives, families, and community stakeholders, who have advocated for a birthing unit in Wanaka.”

Te Whatu Ora Southern will undertake a few minor building alternations, while the midwifery team will work toward finalising the midwifery model of care, and the policies and procedures necessary to guarantee a safe and empowering childbearing journey to our Wanaka whanau before the team can open the doors in early 2023. This new facility in Wanaka will complement the existing Central Otago Maternity Unit in Alexandra and the Queenstown Maternity Unit at Lakes District Hospital.

The Wanaka Primary Birthing Unit is part of a larger project which will also see the Central Otago Maternity Unit transfer to its new home in a brand-new purpose-built facility in Clyde, alongside Dunstan Hospital, projected for early 2024.

Karen Ferraccioli, Director of Midwifery, Te Whatu Ora Southern, highlights the value this unit is bringing into the wider maternity scene and the rural midwifery framework. “It will provide a quality and safe service in accordance with the MOH service specification and will support the primary maternity workforce.”

“The Maternity team is very grateful to the vendor and real estate agent, who have expressed their excitement in being part of enabling this service to be available to Wanaka Community”

Te Whatu Ora Southern thanks all those who have been instrumental in this significant step in providing secure maternity services for the communities of Central Otago and Wanaka.