The Taranaki DHB Board’s decision will provide certainty of access to maternity services

26 March 2015

The options appraisal in relation to the future of Stratford Maternity Services was considered by the Taranaki District Health Board at its meeting today.

As a result, the Stratford Maternity Facility which has been closed since November 2014, will not reopen.  Women of Stratford and surrounding areas will receive birth and postnatal care from safe, effective and reliable Primary Maternity Services based at Hawera and Base Hospitals.  

Pauline Lockett, Taranaki DHB Chair said, “The Board has not made this decision lightly and I understand that some from the Stratford community will be disappointed. However, it is the DHB’s responsibility to ensure reliable and safe access to services for the entire Taranaki population.”

“We are confident that the recommendations agreed on today and providing access to primary maternity services at Hawera and Base Hospitals will provide certainty and represent a more sustainable solution for everyone,” added Ms Lockett.

At the meeting members from the Stratford community indicated  they would support working with the DHB over the next two to three months to explore the potential of establishing a maternal and child hub in Stratford.

Ms. Lockett said, "The Board is committed to working with the Stratford community to try and come up with a workable solution and I think exploring the potential around a maternal and child hub is a positive way forward for everyone.”

Since November, the Taranaki DHB has engaged widely with service users, health professionals and community members during this process.

Rosemary Clements, Acting CEO said, “Having considered the various factors carefully during this process, Taranaki DHB can not have any great confidence that reopening the Stratford Maternity Service would be successful over a sustainable period of time, even if a provider for the service could be found.”

“The recommendations endorsed today aim to strengthen the model of care at Hawera Hospital to better align with what was highly valued within the Stratford model of care, reflecting a community led, family friendly environment.”

“The DHB will also continue to develop ways to support and maintain the rural midwifery workforce as a vital service for Central and South Taranaki Communities,” added Mrs Clements.

The following recommendations were agreed by the Taranaki DHB Board today:

  • Strengthen and maintain reliable services for the Taranaki Population by providing access to Primary Maternity Services from Taranaki Base and Hawera Hospitals.
  • Strengthen the model of care at Hawera Maternity Unit to closer align to service provision as delivered previously in Stratford, acknowledging the importance and value of the model of care at Stratford Maternity.
  • Promote the utilisation of primary low risk births at Hawera Hospital Primary Maternity Unit or Home Births for Stratford and South Taranaki women, in conjunction with LMCs, and community groups.
  • Support and maintain the rural Midwifery workforce as Midwifery is a vital service for the Central and South Taranaki communities
  • Explore the potential for the development of a maternal and child health hub in Stratford acknowledging the journey through pregnancy and early childhood.
  • Work with St John to ensure timely responsiveness for Maternity call-outs and provide targeted training where there is an identified need.
  • Consider this option appraisal as part of any future review of Maternity Services for Taranaki


For more information please call:
Cressida Gates, Media Advisor, 027 703 6177


Last updated: Thursday, March 26, 2015

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