Work underway to get Burwood Birthing Unit open

Friday April 8, 2016

​Work is underway for the temporary reopening of Burwood Birthing Unit.

Canterbury DHB closed the unit, after staff and women felt unsafe being there, following the magnitude 5.7 earthquake on February 14.

This week David Meates, Canterbury DHB chief executive, announced it will be reopened until June 30, 2016, when it will be permanently closed and later demolished.

"Reopening is a priority but a number of things need carried out for this to happen," Mr Meates says.

"The Burwood Birthing Unit is a 1940s building that contains significant asbestos throughout the building. We are currently undertaking thorough cleaning and asbestos testing as a precautionary measure before anyone moves back into the building."

At this stage Tuesday, April 12 is the earliest the unit is likely to open. ​

"We will confirm Monday afternoon once all test results are clear.

"We thank everyone for their ongoing support and also acknowledge that for many the news Burwood Birthing Unit will be permanently closed on June 30th 2016 and then be demolished, is difficult.

"Canterbury DHB would have liked to have kept it open until a new primary maternity unit had been built in the Christchurch area. However, it's no longer an option and a Band-Aid solution is just not viable when you consider the extent of asbestos in the building and what is needed long term for our community."

Mr Meates says the Canterbury DHB is committed to providing the right primary maternity services for the community and will continue to work closely with all key stakeholders, including Lead Maternity Carers, staff and the community to find an agreed way forward for future provisions of maternity services in Christchurch.

ENDS 

Page last reviewed: 08 April 2016
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