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HomeNew ZealandHutt Valley birthing centre repurposed for post-natal care 'a fantastic initiative'

Hutt Valley birthing centre repurposed for post-natal care ‘a fantastic initiative’

Newborn baby feet with identification bracelet tag name.

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A birthing centre in Hutt Valley is set to reopen after a 15-month closure, but for post-natal care instead.

Te Whatu Ora will take over the mothballed Te Awakairangi Birthing Centre and next year open a first-of-its kind transitional care unit for sick babies.

But the centre will not address the region’s maternity care uncertainty.

Interim district director John Tait declined an interview this morning but last night said: “We’re using it for a slightly different purpose than it was being used for before, so I think these things all take time and they all take time for various discussions.”

Tait said instead of staying at Wellington Hospital, now Lower Hutt babies needing post-natal care could be closer to home at the new facility.

Prue Lamason, an outspoken member of the now dissolved Hutt Valley District Health Board, is disappointed the birthing centre will be reopening as a primary birthing unit.

Lamason told Morning Report that the centre would take some pressure off hospitals, but she would rather the facility be used for births as well.

“Nobody can say that it’s not being put to good use. This transitional unit that they’re going to put in there for post-natal care for premature babies … maybe five, six weeks premature or less, is a fantastic initiative.

“But I’m disappointed that Te Awakairangi is not going to be used for a primary briefing unit which was its purpose in the beginning.”

Lamason said Tait mentioned that in the future a couple of the rooms could become available to use for primary birthing.

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