Notice for expectant women and their families – midwives’ strike

Puawai Aroha Maternity at Gisborne Hospital will remain open and operational during the upcoming midwives’ strike.

Midwives who are members of the midwifery union MERAS are going on strike on Tuesday 12 February for 12 hours from 9:01 to 21:01. Hauora Tairāwhiti employs 20 midwives at Gisborne Hospital, all of whom are members of MERAS.

“At all times during the strike there will be a midwife available,” says Clinical Care Manager Nicki Dever. “Planning has been underway since strike notice was issued earlier this year. Our priority is the continued excellent care and safety of women and their babies.”

This strike action affects DHB-employed midwives in our hospitals but not lead maternity carers (LMCs) who work independently in the community.

Women should come to their scheduled appointment unless they have been contacted to say their appointment is being postponed.

Ms Dever also advised that women should call Puawai Aroha Maternity if they have any questions on 0800 800 620 to be transferred to maternity.


1. What happens if I need to go into hospital to give birth or have another procedure during the strike?

Your safety is our main priority, and careful planning means that there will be midwives available for you at all times.

2. How many midwives are going on strike?

Hauora Tairāwhiti employs 20 midwives, all of whom are members of MERAS and therefore will be entitled to take strike action.

3. How can you be sure that you will have enough midwives to care for me?

A contingency planning team has been meeting regularly since the first strike notice was issued by MERAS. All precautions are being taken to ensure the safety of mothers and their babies is maintained. We have agreed with the union for a number of midwives to be on site to provide care to women to keep them safe during the hours their colleagues are on strike.

4. My caesarean section is planned for that time; will it be cancelled?

Some elective C-sections times may change, as there may be some changes to the theatre schedule. If your C-section needs to be rescheduled due to the strike, both you and your Lead Maternity Carer will be notified. Any caesarean that is clinically urgent will not be delayed.

6. What is the DHB doing to prevent the strikes?

This strike affects all DHBs and negotiations are happening at a national level. We are keen to continue talking to the union and will continue trying to settle these negotiations. We expect mediation to help find a way forward and prevent industrial action.

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