Nelson Marlborough Health News and Notices

Notice for expectant women and their families

Midwives who are members of the midwifery union MERAS are going on strike for 12 hours from 9am on 14 February.

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

Associate Directory of Midwifery Debbie Fisher says that Nelson, Wairau and Motueka maternity units will remain open and operational in the lead-up to, and during, the strikes.

 “The safety of women and babies is our top priority. At any time during the strikes there will be a midwife available,” Mrs Fisher 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) 520 9999

In Motueka this is Rachael Kingsbury: Dial main line on 03 5461800


Questions and answers

1. What happens if I need to go into the maternity unit for a check-up or I am in labour on the day of the strike?
The maternity units will be safely staffed during the strike period so we can assure you that you will receive the care you need. Midwives participating in the strike will still be providing what’s called Life Preserving Services which includes all urgent midwifery care for women and their babies.

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. 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.

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