Additional funding and more support is on the way for community LMC midwives caring for women in remote and rural locations in the Southern district.

Southern DHB has this week announced an improved package of support for midwives working in areas such as Te Anau, Lumsden, Queenstown, Wanaka, Central Otago, and other rural parts of Otago and Southland. The measures provide an additional payment and more clinical services to ensure the safe and comprehensive care for new and expectant mothers and their babies.

Highlights of the LMC midwife support package include:

  • A $300 payment to self-employment midwives working with women who live in remote and rural areas;

  • A relief midwife service to provide additional urgent/out-of-hours maternity coverage in Wanaka and Te Anau;

  • New regular midwifery clinics in rural centres to provide additional clinical support and services for mothers in the area and for ongoing assessments.

    This support package is in addition to other provisions in the Integrated Primary Maternity System of Care such as establishing Maternal and Child Hubs and expanding telehealth clinics and services.

    Since announcing the new configuration of primary maternity services for the district in August, Southern DHB has worked with midwives and others to refine and improve the package of support for LMCs caring for women in rural and remote areas.

    “Midwives caring for new and expectant mothers and their families in the most remote regions of the district face special challenges,” says Lisa Gestro, Executive Director, Strategy, Primary and Community Directorate Southern DHB. “We feel we have created a package of support that will help ensure the health and sustainability of the midwifery workforce across the district, ensuring that appropriate care is available to women and their babies.”

    The new support payment is available starting 1st October. 

    It is expected that the new midwifery clinics will be established at Charlotte Jean Maternity Home in Alexandra as well as at the new Maternal and Child Hubs in Wanaka, Te Anau and Lumsden. 

    Following the new support package, setting up telehealth clinics and establishing the new Maternal and Child Hubs are the next steps for the primary maternity implementation team, which will continue to work closely with LMC midwives, other health care providers and stakeholders across the district.

    “The primary maternity system of care and the services and resources we are putting in place to retain, support and attract LMC midwives will help ensure the sustainability and equity of access to primary maternity service across the district for years so come,” says Marion Poore, Chair Maternity Quality and Safety Committee, Southern DHB.