26 Nov 2010

We will keep maternity services in Taihape vows DHB

9:32 pm on 26 November 2010

Whanganui's health board says maternity services will continue in Taihape despite the closure of the town's hospital beds.

Twenty-two rest home residents will be moved when Whanganui District Health Board does away with their beds, and four hospital beds, after the community board running the town's health services went broke.

60 people - a third of them nurses - stand to lose their jobs.

A protest of up to 300 people marched down State Highway One, the town's main thoroughfare, on Friday afternoon demanding their hospital remain open rather than become a day clinic.

Later on the same day the DHB announced it has accepted in principle a proposal from midwives so women can continue giving birth in the central North Island town.

On of Taihape's midwives, with 30 years experience there, Kiwi Rowlands, says the DHB has not confirmed anything with them but the statement is encouraging.

The Service and Food Workers Union says lives are at risk from the loss of 24 hour hospital services.

Union delegate Tracey Logan says a local man is among those who owe their lives to 24-hour nurse cover.

"He turned up on weekend after being stung by a bee and had a severe allergic reaction to them. If the nurses hadn't been there he wouldn't have made to another hospital out of town. It's ridiculous."