Bethlehem Birthing Centre is shutting its doors until Friday, May 27 due to a shortage of midwives.
Since opening in 2014, the birthing centre provides a facility for about 400 women to give birth each year.
“Staff shortages have placed pressure on our small team who have pulled together and picked up additional shifts to keep the facility staffed,” says a Bethlehem Birthing Centre spokesperson.
“The maternity sector across New Zealand has a shortage of staff,”
“It is very sad for the families in our community who will not have this primary care option during this temporary closure.
“It also puts added pressure on the team as they are working more hours each week than they normally would and while the doors are closed the facility receives no funding and still has a wage cost.”
According to the spokesperson, the Bethlehem Birthing Centre is the only primary birthing facility in Tauranga.
It is free to women of all ages who are eligible for care in New Zealand hospitals and whose pregnancy is considered low risk primary care.
The rooms have ensuite bathrooms which include a water birthing facility.
The centre also provides various traditional cultural options for people who wish to utilise them.
The spokesperson adds that the birthing centre has new staff joining in the near future, and they are hoping to continue recruiting to replenish their team.
“We provide a calm and nurturing setting for women to have an active birth, and enjoy the crucial first days with their baby in a supportive environment. We provide extensive post-natal care, including support with breastfeeding.
“Our vision is to work in a partnership with families to effect an informed, active and natural birthing experience.”
The Bethlehem Birthing Centre is working on recruiting more midwives to alleviate their staffing issue. For more information on their job listings, visit https://www.birthingcentre.co.nz/Careers/Current-Vacancies.