A serious shortage of midwives at the Hutt Valley District Health Board has led to care rationing and poses a risk to safe maternity services.
That's the key finding of an external review of women's health services at the DHB, released to RNZ today under the Official Information Act.
It said shortages of both DHB and community midwives mean staff were chronically overworked, tired and burnt out.
It said that was affecting staff's ability to identify and manage risks, adding there was a high rate of caesarean section births and transfers of new born babies to Wellington Hospital.
The review also identified a serious shortage of community based midwifery care, with nine of a pool of 32 lead maternity carers leaving over the past two years.
The health board said it accepted the review findings and was implementing many of its recommendations.