There are new rules around maternity units due to COVID-19
There are new rules around maternity units due to COVID-19

Survey finds reduction of regional maternity services ‘catastrophic’

A PORTION of Queensland doctors believe the reduction of maternity services in rural and region areas was ‘catastrophic’ or ‘extremely dangerous’, according to a recent survey.

The Australian Medical Association Queensland surveyed 700 doctors across the state, with 24 per cent of respondents saying the reduction of maternity services in regional Queensland was ‘catastrophic’ and a further 42 per cent saying it was ‘extremely dangerous’.

AMA Queensland spokesman and rural generalist Dr Marco Giuseppin said current rural and regional maternity services left many women without the option of having a doctor involved during their pregnancy or childbirth.

“They have to travel away from their home town if they need or want the services of a doctor,” Dr Giuseppin said.

However, while many expectant mothers have to travel for maternity services in Central Queensland, the smaller hospitals were equipped to cater for unplanned births.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service, Executive Director of Nursing, Midwifery and Quality and Safety, Sue Foyle, said many locations across the region provided both antenatal and post-natal care.

“Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service provides antenatal and post-natal care

throughout the rural services in our health district and in collaboration with local general

practitioner and our rural generalist doctors,” she said.

“We provide outreach specialist obstetric and gynaecology services to Emerald and Biloela

to bring specialist care closer to home where it is safe to do so.”

Birthing facilities are located at Biloela, Emerald, Gladstone and Rockhampton.

“All our small rural hospitals are equipped to cater for imminent (unplanned) birthing, and our staff are regularly trained in imminent birthing,” Ms Foyle said.

“While it is our aim to provide as many services as possible as close to home wherever

possible, it is essential those services remain safe and sustainable.”

She said the smaller hospitals offered comprehensive antenatal and post-natal care, however birthing services were only provided where specialist support services, including 24-hour anaesthetic, obstetric and paediatric coverage, were available.

“We put safety as our highest priority, and it is our aim to get the best possible outcomes

for our mums and babies across Central Queensland.”


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