National MP Hamish Walker concerned after another Southland baby born outside primary birthing facility

National's Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker is again fuming about available maternity services after a second baby was born in Lumsden without making it to a "proper" facility.

On Wednesday, Walker said a local woman had been unable to make it a primary birth unit so was forced to give birth at the Lumsden Child and Maternal Hub, an emergency birthing facility.

He said that after giving birth to the baby, the woman needed to travel for about an hour to the nearest primary birthing facility.

"You just picture it, a mother giving birth in -1C weather, having to wrap the baby up and travel an hour down the road for the next few days to care for the baby. Is that acceptable in 2019?" Walker told Newshub.

Walker wants the Lumsden Maternity Centre, which was closed in April by the Southern District Health Board (SDHB) and downgraded into a hub, to be reinstated.

The hub can provide pre and post-natal care, but is only resourced for emergency births.

Last month, a baby was born in the back of an ambulance south of Lumsden as the mother raced to a primary birthing facility.

"The hub model is clearly not working and if National is re-elected next year we will reinstate full services at the Lumsden Maternity Centre."

Walker has a petition before Parliament with more than 5000 signatures.

SDHB chief executive Chris Fleming said last month that it would review the first incident of a baby being born on the way to a facility as part of its evaluation of services across the district.

"We're currently implementing our network of services and monitoring its implementation."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in May that she was happy to have a look at the services, but said there had been dropping numbers at the previous centre and even then it didn't have full services.

Last year, the SDHB said there just aren't enough people in the area to justify the centre's continued operation. It said it was trying to figure out the "best long-term location of a primary birthing unit in central Otago".

Newshub.

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