Newtown midwives sacked after funding cut
Monday 1 Oct 2012 4:04 p.m.
Midwives at the service union will no longer help those most in need
By 3 News online staff
A Wellington health clinic that cares for vulnerable women is being forced to sack its team of midwives due to funding cuts.
The Newtown Union Health Service will make the redundancies after more than $250,000 was cut from its budget this year, ending their midwifery service which began in 1991.
Last year, the union’s budget was stripped back by around $300,000 as well.
The Capital and Coast District Health Board was behind the cuts which, when announced, prompted patients and doctors to speak out.
Union doctor Ben Gray was one of those to censure the cuts, saying the poorest and neediest people in the community will suffer.
The service caters mainly for women with specialist needs or for whom English is their second language.
“They are managing probably the most difficult obstetric population in the country; addictions, refugee population, poverty. They are a very specialised group,” Dr Gray told The Wellingtonian.
Practice manager Fiona Osten released a statement on the service cut today, saying the service does not qualify for the Health Ministry’s lead maternity care funding because it doesn’t include care for high-needs women in the community.
“In the past the service has been able to buffer these costs from additional funding," she says. "However this option is no longer available as a result of the funding costs."