Lumsden Maternity Centre won't be reinstated despite roadside births

Government MPs have voted not to reinstate Lumsden Maternity Centre, despite acknowledging there are issues with the current downgrade. 

The Health Select Committee on Thursday released its long-awaited report into Clutha-Southland MP Hamish Walker's petition to reinstate full services.

The committee's report rejected Walker's plea to reinstate full services, despite saying the centre wasn't "fit for purpose" at the time of the downgrade.

"What the community's been saying over the last 12 months has been proved correct," Walker said.

"The Health Select Committee's report has shown it's not fit for purpose.

"We've had four rural mums in scary, degrading circumstances."

The Labour Party noted it expects the district health board (DHB) will make sure there is appropriate equipment and 24-hour midwifery cover.

But Walker said the community has been completely ignored.

"The Health Select Committee heard from experts right across the field," he said. "They all said the same thing; Lumsden needs to be reinstated."

The local GP is bearing the brunt of the lack of resources

"I'm disappointed, angry and saddened for the communities of northern Southland," Dr Matthew Stokes said. "Mums and babies specifically."

Dr Stokes said studies prove the further you are from a birthing unit, the higher the risk of death.

One woman forced to give an emergency birth, Amanda McIvor, said it's only a matter of time before something goes wrong.

"I think it's going to take that for the DHB and parliament to actually take note of the community here," she said. "A baby or a mother's going to go downhill very quickly and they're not going to be able to help them in any kind of way."

Lumsden locals are now left hanging their hopes on an independent review of their maternity services.