Mining boom pressures maternity ward
THE mining boom is threatening the future of the Flying Obstetrician and Gynaecologist service across central and south-west Queensland, according to the Rural Doctors Association.
President Dr Ewen McPhee said the world-class emergency maternity care provider was stretched beyond its limit by the boom, which had delivered patients but not the extra resources to care for them.
While Dr McPhee reassured maternity services at Emerald Hospital were stable, thanks to a new locum doctor and another joining the private sector ranks, he urged all political parties to throw up solutions to the bush birthing crisis.
Reopening the state's largest rural maternity unit at Beaudesert was an "obvious first choice", he added.
"Beaudesert can be the jewel in Queensland Health's rural obstetrics crown," Dr McPhee said.
"The health haemorrhage must be stopped."
Dr Richard Kidd
"Country doctors have a lingering concern if the FOG and Beaudesert's major maternity unit can't be sustained, it's only a matter of time before the rest are 'let go' in similar fashion.
"If we can't hold these two key services, how can we hold the rest?
"The FOG has, in the past, provided specialist support and emergency back-up for rural clinicians providing safe care for birthing mums across Queensland."
AMA Queensland president Dr Richard Kidd yesterday described health as the "political poison chalice".
"So let's take the politics out of it and deliver real solutions for Queenslanders," he said.
AMA Queensland proposed a new leadership structure to be known as the Queensland Health Taskforce, removed from direct ministerial responsibility and responsible for policy decision.
"The QHT will be made up of senior politicians, from both the government of the day and the opposition, departmental staff, and most importantly AMA medical practitioners, local health and hospital network governing council members and other clinicians," Dr Kidd said.
"The health haemorrhage must be stopped.
"From the strangulation of clinical services by the massive and burdensome beast of bureaucracy to the starvation by decades of under-funding of frontline services, it is time for a new approach."