MidCentral DHB’s Te Uru Pā Harakeke (Healthy Women Children and Youth) directorate entered into the agreement with the Wright Family Foundation in December 2019 to take on the delivery of services at the Birthing Centre from 1 April 2020.
The partnership was marked with a celebration and formal cultural transfer ceremony at the Birthing Centre on Wednesday 9 September.
MidCentral DHB Te Uru Pā Harakeke Operations Executive Sarah Fenwick said the DHB was focused on and commited to prioritising the best possible birthing opportunities for mothers and babies in a primary care, midwife-led setting.
“This partnership has already allowed us to significantly improve birthing and postnatal care for women in our region,” Ms Fenwick said.
“We’re pleased to say we are now allowing women who birth at Palmerston North Hospital to enjoy a postnatal stay at Te Papaioea and we are increasing our ability to give more women this opportunity, including those who have more complicated births. Since beginning postnatal transfers on International Midwives Day in May, more than 130 women have taken advantage of the option.
“We look forward to providing more pregnancy-related care at the centre, including lactation consultancy and community midwifery services. We are also currently in discussions about offering a milk bank and look forward to making an announcement on this in due course.”
MidCentral DHB Chief Executive Kathryn Cook said the agreement would improve outcomes for women birthing in our district, babies and whānau.
“As the first agreement of its kind in New Zealand with a Birthing Centre facility, we’re delighted to be working with the Wright Family Foundation. We are eager to see improved outcomes for mothers and babies in our region as we focus on how we can best support the precious first 1000 days of a child’s life.
“We anticipate a positive shift for many women as we strive ahead and we are now actively looking at other ways we can enhance this important experience for whānau throughout the MidCentral district.”
Wright Family Foundation and Birthing Centre founder Chloe Wright said the partnership was the gold standard for maternity and postnatal care all women of New Zealand had a right to receive.
"MidCentral DHB has recognised with this partnership that the existing purpose-built primary birthing centre is part of the solution in taking the pressure of hospital maternity units. It would be transformative if all DHBs were to follow this lead to give our mothers the maternity and postnatal care they deserve. Our next generation is in their hands.”
Ms Cook said it had been a challenging time for mothers birthing throughout the COVID-19 lockdown period and staff had worked hard to make the transition as smooth as possible during a difficult time.
The Birthing Centre, opened by the Wright Family Foundation in 2017, is located in Ruahine Street, Palmerston North.