wcdhb banner
News and Media Releases

Media Releases Archive

Introducing This Page

This section contains media releases released a little while ago. Please note that due to the long time when some of these were released images have been removed and some links might no longer work.

June 27, 2012

Obstetric and Gynaecology Services at West Coast District Health Board

The West Coast District Health Board (WCDHB) is making arrangements to ensure women have access to obstetrics and gynaecology services for four days at the start of July when none will be available locally.

Dr Carol Atmore, West Coast DHB chief medical officer says unforeseen circumstances have resulted in a shortage of specialist cover for up to four days in the first week of July and the WCDHB has made plans to ensure mothers are safely covered during this time.

“It’s likely around 45 women may be affected by this situation and the West Coast DHB apologises for any distress and inconvenience this causes, but is committed to providing a safe service for mothers and babies,” Carol Atmore says.

Pregnant women should discuss their care plans with their Lead Maternity Carer.

The alternative arrangements in place are:

  • Travel to Christchurch is recommended for women who are greater than 36 weeks gestation and for those between 34 and 36 weeks gestation, identified by their Lead Maternity Carer (LMC) or Midwife as at higher risk of premature labour and delivery or other complications,.
  • Other women between 34 and 36 weeks gestation should discuss their care with their LMC/midwife. If they wish to transfer to Christchurch during this time the West Coast DHB will provide support for accommodation and travel.
  • Women needing urgent gynaecological care will be transferred to Christchurch

Carol Atmore says these arrangements are being advised because the permanent obstetric and gynaecology specialist is on leave and locum cover for his absence had been arranged but has fallen through. Therefore from 4pm on Monday July 2, to 8pm on Thursday July 5, 2012, the West Coast District Health Board is unable to provide a specialist obstetric service to women on the West Coast.

This means that services such as planned and emergency caesarean sections, inductions and other obstetric procedures will not be available.

The DHB will make arrangements with women transferring for their safe travel. Reasonable travel and accommodation costs will be met by West Coast DHB.

Women should discuss their care plans with their Lead Maternity Carer (LMC). LMC / midwives will also make arrangements for continuing maternity care while mothers are not on the West Coast during this time, Carol Atmore says.

Q & As

When will this shortage be over?
This situation will be resolved with the arrival of a specialist locum on Thursday July 5, 2012 at Grey Base Hospital. The DHB is reliant upon arranged locum cover until mid September.

How can this situation be avoided in the future?
Another full-time Obstetrics and Gynaecology specialist will arrive at the West Coast DHB towards the end of this year and will reduce the likelihood of such shortages in the future. We are also actively recruiting for another Obstetrics and Gynaecology specialist with the support of Canterbury DHB.

Why are women recommended to travel?
In the past when obstetrics cover has not been available, the Coast has continued with a primary midwifery service. However, a recent review undertaken by West Coast and Canterbury clinicians of who needed emergency caesarian sections on the Coast,  highlighted that some women who were considered ‘low risk’ ended up requiring specialist obstetrics care. In light of this, our preference is to err on the side of caution and encourage any women from 34 weeks gestation to transfer to Christchurch for the four days we have no specialist cover.

Bryan Jamieson
Community Liaison Officer
West Coast DHB
PO Box 387
Greymouth 7840
Phone (DDI): (03) 769-7665
Mobile: 027 245-9595
Email: This is not a link as we want to prevent spam.  Please transfer the email address on the image carefully into your email client before sending the email.  You might find, with some older email addresses on this site that they are no longer current, for staff-change reasons.  If your email bounces back please contact the WCDHB Communications Team - see Contacts section of this site.

Back to the Media Releases Archive