20/11/2018 4:01:46 p.m.

Tuesday 20 November 2018


Lakes District Health Board staff have spent the past fortnight planning for the provision of maternity clinical services during industrial action by the Midwifery Employee Representation and Advisory Service Incorporated (MERAS). starting later this week.

The industrial action will start on Thursday 22 November and will affect Rotorua and Taupo Birthing Units, post natal units and maternity outpatient clinics. Some 46 midwives are employed by the DHB, with the majority of them members of MERAS. Lakes DHB does have other midwifery staff who belong to a different union.

MERAS has issued notice for a series of two-hour work stoppages, starting on Thursday 22 November. The first stoppages are scheduled for 11am – 1pm and 8-10pm on the 22 November and then for a range of times in the days following.

Contingency planning meetings held each weekday are focussed on ensuring the needs of mothers and babies will be safely met.

Lakes DHB says the planning process will ensure minimal disruption to the public, with adequate cover in place during the industrial action. The DHB has agreed with the union for a number of midwives to be on site to provide care to women to keep them safe during the hours their colleagues are on strike. More midwives are on call if needed.

Everything is being done to ensure all mothers and babies receive safe care during this time, said Corli Roodt, Clinical Midwife Manager for Lakes DHB.

She says staff will be in direct contact with patients if they need to make alterations to planned care. And she wants to reassure women there will always be someone to open to door and answer the phone at maternity services at Rotorua and Taupo Hospitals, during any of the stoppages.

Any women with questions are urged to contact their lead maternity carer (LMC) or hospital midwife.