Birthing services covered for now

ONGOING maternity services at Emerald Hospital have been secured in the short term, according to Queensland Health.

Central district chief executive officer Dr Coralee Barker said Emerald could be assured of full cover for birthing services, with locum doctors qualified in obstetrics and anaesthetics brought on board.

“Queensland Health left no stone unturned in finding suitably qualified staff to continue a safe level of health care,” she said.

“As well as the locum doctors at the hospital, we are speaking with a qualified obstetrician and gynaecologist about a longer-term placement at the hospital.

“We are still working out the final details of this arrangement, but the news is definitely encouraging.

“Meanwhile, the hunt for permanent staff is still very high on my list of priorities and we will continue to rigorously recruit full-time doctors for Emerald Hospital.”

Dr Barker said babies were being born at Emerald Hospital and all clinics were continuing to see and treat the women and babies of the community.

But Gregory MP Vaughan Johnson lambasted the State Government for paying no more than ‘lip service’ to essential infrastructure in the region.

“Emerald has magnificent education facilities… but we don’t have a full-time, or there’s always a question mark over, the maternity section of our magnificent hospital,” he said.

“There are so many young mothers and so many young families in Emerald, it’s a sacrilege.

“We’ve got a big catchment area, this is the place where the wealth of Queensland is being generated, but we’re getting lip service to this social infrastructure.”

Doctors that relocate from the city to Emerald are eligible for a $30,000 grant under the Federal Government’s new General Practice Rural Incentive Program.

“Financial incentives are now available for doctors wanting to relocate from our capital cities and to set up shop in the Central Highlands,” said Flynn MP Chris Trevor.

“The new system is designed not just to attract doctors to our area, but to keep them here.”

Doctors that practise in Emerald may also be eligible for retention grants that range from $4000 for six months to $18,000 for five years.

Dr Barker said Emerald families are welcome to access child health clinics, and mothers with babies under the age of eight weeks can access a drop-in clinic every Thursday.

Child Health nurses are also available to provide advice on breastfeeding or other issues.

To make an appointment, phone Emerald Community Health on 4983 9700.

“Meanwhile, the hunt for permanent staff is still very high on my list of priorities and we will continue to rigorously recruit full-time doctors for Emerald Hospital.”

Central district chief executive officer Dr Coralee Barker


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