News and Notices

Notice for expectant women and their families

Midwives who are members of the midwifery union MERAS are going on strike twice a day for two hours between 22 November and 5 December.

This affects DHB-employed midwives in our hospitals but not lead maternity carers (LMCs) who work independently in the community.

Pamela Kiesanowski, Director of Nursing and Midwifery, says that the safety of women and babies is paramount in the lead-up to and during the strikes.

“The safety of women and babies is our top priority. Nelson and Wairau hospital maternity units, and the Motueka Maternity Unit, will remain open and operational during the strikes. At any time during the strikes there will be a midwife available,” Mrs Kiesanowski says.

Women should come to their scheduled appointment unless they have been contacted to say their appointment is being postponed.

Women can also contact charge midwife managers with any questions:

  • In Nelson this is Sylvia Keller: Dial main line on 03 546 1800
  • In Marlborough this is Graham Cross: Dial main line on 03 546 1800
  • In Motueka this is Rachael Kingsbury: Dial main line on 03 5461800


Questions and answers

1. What happens if I need to go into hospital to give birth or have another procedure and the midwife is on strike?

If the hospital midwife caring for you is taking part in the two hour strike during the time you are in hospital, if they have not already started to treat you, you may be cared for by another midwife. If they are already part way through a procedure that cannot be delayed they will continue to care for you.

2. How can you be sure that there will be a midwife ready to care for me?

As part of strike negotiations, an agreement is made with the union to ensure enough midwives are available, on-site at all times during the strikes.  We will also have more midwives available, on-call, if needed.

3. My caesarean section is planned for that time. Will it be postponed?

Some elective c-sections times may change, as there may be some changes to the theatre schedule. Any caesarean that is clinically urgent will not be delayed.

4. When exactly are the strikes?

The rolling stoppages are for two hours twice a day for two weeks from 22 November. The times will change each day. The first day is from 11am to 1pm and from 8pm to 10pm.

5. What is being done to prevent the strikes?

This strike affects all DHBs and negotiations are happening at a national level. We are keen to continue talking to the union and will continue trying to settle these negotiations. We expect mediation to help find a way forward and prevent industrial action.