With great sadness, Waihi Lifecare Directors and Management announce the closure of the Waihi Birthing Centre. Over the last 5 years, Managing Director Steven Wallace, the management team and the owners have done everything in their power to keep the Birthing Centre running; however, they are now out of options.
Along with the rest of New Zealand, Waihi has been affected by the lack of Independent Midwives (community LMCs) working in the local region. This chronic shortage has meant that a large proportion of maternity care has shifted to the hospital setting. “We have spent the last couple of years in negotiations with the Waikato DHB, but there has been no solution to this fundamental issue,” says co-owner Helen Watson.
On the positive side, plans for this space will benefit the local community. “We have identified a concerning shortage of Aged Care beds for hospital, palliative, respite and GP patients locally. Following extensive consultation and a provisional audit, we have received approval from Te Whatu Ora – Health New Zealand to open 11 Aged Residential Care beds in what was previously the Birthing Centre. Renovations will begin mid-October to ensure the facility space is welcoming, safe and resident-appropriate”.
“We would like to thank the Waihi Community, Birthing Centre staff, past and present and all midwives that have utilised the Waihi Birthing Centre over the years. We have received several donations from families and local organisations during our tenure. Thank you to everyone who has donated, and a special thank you to the Waihi Lions, Oceana Gold Waihi and Inline builders for donating vital equipment”.
Finally, a very special thank you to our Birthing Centre Manager, Ashley McKay, who has shown a passion and a commitment to providing excellent care for mothers and babies.