Birthing bunfight in the oven

Rural birthing and maternity service commitments debated

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RDAQ current president Dr Raymond Lewandowski, with past presidents Dr Clare Walker and Dr Neil Beaton, who support maternity services being restored in the bush.

RDAQ current president Dr Raymond Lewandowski, with past presidents Dr Clare Walker and Dr Neil Beaton, who support maternity services being restored in the bush.

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A bunfight has erupted over maternity services in the bush as Labor and the LNP rolled out their healthcare commitments ahead of the October 31 election.

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A BUNFIGHT has erupted over maternity services in the bush as Labor and the LNP rolled out their healthcare commitments ahead of the October 31 election.

For the past two years, the Chinchilla Hospital has struggled to recruit rural generalists,which would enable a full restoration of birthing services.

However, Health Minister Steven Miles said Chinchilla Hospital's maternity service was operational under a 'Midwifery Group Practice' model launched in December 2019, with the service providing support in an outreach capacity to mums in Miles, Tara and Taroom.

"Under the MGP model, mums are provided with continuity of care through seeing a known midwife for their antenatal, birth and postnatal care," Mr Miles said.

"Mums receive individualised, woman-centred care including having their own midwife... throughout their pregnancy, on call for their labour and birth, and providing follow-up visits."

LNP Leader Deb Frecklington said they would trial on-demand birthing services with a new, dedicated local team in Chinchilla if elected.

"The LNP's plan will offer local birthing services to low-risk pregnancies that can be safely undertaken at the Chinchilla and Theodore hospitals," she said.

The LNP's model will be trialled for 12 months and is based on a similar model that has operated out of Goondiwindi.

It is unreasonable that women have to travel to another town to birth their bubs. - Dr Raymond Lewandowski

Rural Doctors Association of Queensland president Dr Raymond Lewandowski said Queenslanders should have access to a world-class public health system regardless of their postcode.

Dr Lewandowski is a rural generalist based in Innisfail, where he provides obstetrics and endoscopy services.

"Local birthing is the keystone of a rural health service providing for all ages and demographics in a community," Dr Lewandowski said.

"It is unreasonable that women have to travel to another town to birth their bubs when there is a hospital that has been and should be equipped to provide this service."

He said the RDAQ supported the restoration and establishment of collaborative maternity services.

"The Goondiwindi model is a great model and incorporates the entire team of midwives and rural generalists with advanced skills in obstetrics and anesthetics working together," he said.

"It is exciting that the LNP have committed to restoring maternity services to Chinchilla and Theodore, but we need to closely examine the detail."

Maternity Consumer Network director Alecia Staines said every review into maternity services had outlined the need for local maternity care.

"This is not only safer for women and their babies, but it also helps improve the services across the whole hospital," Ms Staines said.

"We would appeal to the LNP to continue their plan to invest in rural and regional maternity units and would like to see a four-year plan to reopen other places such as Cloncurry, Mossman, Nambour, Bowen, and Maryborough."

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