WDHB board member requests more details

WDHB board chair Kate Joblin rejects Michael Laws’ comments regarding the quality of the Regional Women’s Health proposal and the need for board members to assess the way the proposal was created, as reported in the Wanganui Chronicle today.
The Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) confirms it received an Official Information Act request yesterday from WDHB board member Mr Laws requesting information, as well as any communications, regarding the Regional Women’s Health Service proposal being considered by both Whanganui and MidCentral District Health Boards.
“At both the committee and board meetings over recent weeks a number of members commented that the proposal is a significant, well considered piece of work,” Mrs Joblin says. “It provides a clinically safe option for Whanganui women and their babies, and we need to remember that patient safety and quality must be paramount to any service the board provides.
“Board members will have been provided with all the information they need to consider the proposal at the board meeting on 2 March. It is more constructive to use the DHB’s limited resources to ensure the board is properly briefed on this important decision.”
At their meeting last week, the board requested additional information be presented, deferring its decision to its meeting on 2 March, for further consideration before the commencement of formal community engagement on the proposal. 
MidCentral DHB this week approved the proposal, subject to WDHB approval, while also approving the associated Theatre Facility Development business case.
While the DHBs have good lead maternity carer (LMC) services available to the women of their districts, the WDHB and MidCentral DHBs have both had difficulty in recruiting permanent obstetricians and gynaecologists (O&Gs) over the past decade.
The recruitment issue directly impacts on the provision of services for 24 hours, 7 days a week, and that has limited the ability of the service to develop sub-specialties.
Management, along with clinicians, from both DHBs have developed a proposal for a new service model. The need for change was first introduced to board members at a workshop in early December 2011. The proposal centres on much of the O&G specialist care, especially that which is unplanned, being provided from Palmerston North Hospital. The LMC services and some of the planned specialist services would continue to be provided from local birthing centres in Whanganui, Taihape, Raetihi, Dannevirke, and Levin.
The board is expected to make its final decision on the Regional Women’s Health Service proposal and the implementation plan in April.