17 Feb 2012

Whanganui maternity care decision put off

8:22 pm on 17 February 2012

A decision on a new maternity proposal for Whanganui Hospital has been delayed once again, as the District Health Board says it needs more information.

The plan calls for all specialist care such as epidurals, caesareans and inductions to be concentrated at Palmerston North Hospital.

The change could affect up to 400 women a year.

Whanganui District Health Board discussed the proposal at a meeting on Friday afternoon.

The board members unanimously agreed that more information on risk factors is needed before an informed decision can be made.

Board member Clive Solomon says the decision was the right one and what he calls a "rush through" approach needs to stop.

DHB management will now spend two weeks gathering that information, before the proposal again goes before the board.

Whanganui Hospital chief executive Julie Patterson says she is comfortable she will be able to gather the information in time.

She says most of the information about the community impact is already in the proposal that has been presented to the board, but it obviously needs to be highlighted.

Julie Patterson has said change is needed as staff can't cope with unexpected absences.

She says if that happened, Palmerston North Hospital would be put under unexpected pressure.