The Lakes District Health Board says a national shortage of midwives means registered nurses will be employed to cover primary birthing and postnatal services in Taupō.
According to a statement from the Lakes DHB's chief operating officer Alan Wilson, midwifery staffing shortages are forcing health managers to make some staffing changes in the Maternity Unit at Taupō Hospital.
He says there is a long-established shortage of midwives in New Zealand, and like many other rural areas, Lakes DHB has struggled to attract hospital midwives to work at Taupō Hospital.
This, coupled with the resignation of the clinical midwifery manager at Taupō last month, has seen the Lakes DHB propose changes that will allow maternity services to continue in Taupō for the foreseeable future.
Many maternity services in other DHBs use registered nurses who can work in maternity and where there are midwife shortages, they have been increasingly used.
Alan says some registered nurses are already used in the Rotorua maternity services.
Around 400 Taupō and Tūrangi women have babies each year, with about 200 women giving birth at Rotorua and 200 in Taupō.
Alan says the DHB is committed to continuing to provide a primary birthing and postnatal service in Taupō.
Discussions are currently being held with hospital midwives, lead maternity carers, nursing staff and their respective unions.
“We are confident this can be a sustainable solution and women in Taupō and Tūrangi can continue to get a high-quality maternity service in Taupō,” he says.
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