The Central App

Clyde birthing unit timeline shifts again

The Central App

Anna Robb

03 July 2024, 5:45 PM

Clyde birthing unit timeline shifts againPregnant women in Central should have access to a new birthing unit in Clyde in 2026. PHOTO: File

Construction of the new Clyde primary birthing unit will start in 2025, a Health New Zealand (HNZ) spokesperson has told The Central App.

HNZ (Te Whatu Ora) Te Waipounamu regional head of infrastructure Dr Rob Ojala said they expect to welcome families to the unit in 2026.

“Early concept work has been completed and further design work is now underway following the extra funding announcement last week.

“The Clyde unit will incorporate many similar building features and will support the same model of care as the Wānaka primary birth unit, but this is a new build rather than a building conversion,” Rob said.  

The new unit includes three antenatal consult rooms, one birthing room, one flexi-room, two postpartum rooms and a community/whānau room.

Rob confirmed Jasmax completed earlier design work and a different architect is working on the plans. 

“[We] are reviewing the initial design to accommodate national guidance on new build facilities. This work is being done by Oakley Gray Architects.”

The project is overdue for expectant mothers in the district.

In August 2022 public meetings were held and the proposed design was shared for community feedback.

The timeframe was said to be ‘a year or so’. 

In April 2023 plans for the new unit were put on hold due to rising construction costs, and a spokesperson said the design might have to be altered for efficiencies. 

One month later Te Whatu Ora Southern director of midwifery Karen Ferraccioli said the procurement process for a construction partner for the new unit in Clyde was underway.

The timeline was to have it open late in 2024. 

Now it is going to be ready three years after the initial indication of 2023.

Local pregnant women can give birth at the primary birthing unit in Alexandra now called the Central Otago Maternity Unit (formerly Charlotte Jean) managed by HNZ.

But some mothers-to-be with complications have to stomach an uncomfortable journey by ambulance or car to Dunedin Hospital.

When the Clyde unit is built at Dunstan Hospital the helipad close by will ensure that people requiring additional care can be promptly transferred to a specialist centre in Dunedin, which is an approximately 20-30 min flight versus two and a half hours in an ambulance. 

Rob said all services and staff provided by the Alexandra unit will be relocated to the new Clyde unit when it opens.