Midwives fear women in labour could be forced to give birth in their cars after a Covid-19 testing station has been set up at the entrance of East Auckland's Botany birthing clinic.
"It's made it extremely difficult for new mums or women labour to get in and out of the clinic. It's putting our mums and babies in serious danger," Sarina Gurnick, a midwife at the Botany Down Birthing Unit, told the Herald.
Gurnick said the station had been set up on the driveway which had been turned into one lane, shared with people using the clinic.
"It's on a main busy road and we've got new mums and babies in the car trying to get in and out of the clinic," she said.
"It's a hazard at the best of times and having that extra load of traffic backed up to Cascades Rd is madness.
"My biggest worry is a baby having to be born in a car because we can't get mum into the unit or there being an accident with a newborn baby in the car."
"It causing huge anxiety and stress, which is concerning for any new mum or pregnant women."
She said the clinic's frustrations had been raised with the Counties Manukau District Health Board on multiple occasions but had been ignored.
The testing station was located at Botany Down Birthing Unit last lockdown and Gurnick said it caused major upset among the community then.
"Clearly the community's upset has been ignored."
Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown has written a letter to Counties Manukau District Health Board's chief executive Margie Apa requesting the testing station be moved to a more suitable location.
"This in my opinion is unacceptable and interferes with the important local Maternity services," Brown said.
"I would like it moved somewhere nearby where it won't interfere and traffic can be better managed – I have written to the DHB asking for this to happen."
"It would be better to move the testing sites to one of the sports clubs at Lloyd Elsmore park, which are currently closed, and where there are huge car parks, meaning the traffic is also off the roads."
A spokesperson for the Northern Region DHBs (Northland, Waitematā, Auckland and Counties Manukau) said they understood the unprecedented demand for Covid-19 testing was affecting communities but traffic management plans were in place for each site and were regularly monitored and updated.
Community police and security staff have been on site since the centre was re-established on Thursday to ensure patients and their whānau, midwives and staff could easily access the neighbouring Botany Downs Birthing Unit, the spokesperson said.
They said traffic management staff were on their way to the site today.
"It is expected they will take over traffic management from police and continue to ensure clear access to the birthing unit," the spokesperson said.
"We want to thank the birthing unit and other residents and local businesses in the neighbourhoods where the [testing stations] are located for their patience and support.
"Auckland health authorities continue to monitor the demand for testing closely and regularly review the location of our CTCs in response to community demand."