Births re­stricted

Re­duced hours for Deni ma­ter­nity to be tem­po­rary

Deniliquin Pastoral Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Ex­pec­tant moth­ers who go into labour over the next two to three weeks may not be able to have their chil­dren at De­niliquin Hospi­tal.

Mur­rumbidgee Lo­cal Health District re­gional gen­eral man­ager Rose­mary Garth­waite has con­firmed the De­niliquin Hospi­tal ma­ter­nity ward is op­er­at­ing on re­duced hours as a result of a tem­po­rary skills shortage.

It means mid­wives will not be avail­able at the hospi­tal be­tween 4.30pm and 8am.

Ms Garth­waite said this is the result of some mid­wives tak­ing ‘‘un­ex­pected leave’’ with staffing be­ing re­viewed daily and ex­pected to be rec­ti­fied shortly.

‘‘We need one more mid­wife to be avail­able to al­low us to re­turn to a 24/7 ser­vice,’’ Ms Garth­waite said.

‘‘Our short term strat­egy is to find one more mid­wife, which in­cludes speak­ing with other ser­vices within the health district.

‘‘We want to re­as­sure all women in the De­niliquin area we are con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide a ser­vice; it will con­tinue now and into the fu­ture.’’

Ms Garth­waite said all women who have booked in to give birth at De­niliquin Hospi­tal have been con­tacted re­gard­ing the re­stricted ser­vice.

She said if any of them go into labour out­side the op­er­at­ing hours be­fore the ad­di­tional mid­wife can be re­cruited, each case would be as­sessed in­di­vid­u­ally.

She said each would re­ceive the ap­pro­pri­ate sup­port but, if time per­mit­ted, they would be sent to another district hospi­tal to give birth.

‘‘Any ex­pec­tant mother that presents to the emer­gency depart­ment is as­sessed and ap­pro­pri­ate strate­gies put in place, with pa­tient safety a pri­or­ity.

‘‘We will con­tinue to pro­vide a safe ser­vice and sup­port as needed.

‘‘Any woman who goes in to labour can still present to De­niliquin Hospi­tal, and it is up to us to get them to where they need to be.

‘‘If there is an emer­gency the birth can be han­dled lo­cally, and if travel is re­quired the method will be as­sessed at the time.

‘‘Sim­i­larly, if a woman’s labour con­tin­ues af­ter 4.30pm, we will re­main to pro­vide sup­port.

‘‘The im­por­tant thing to know is that we do not ex­pect this to go on for a long time.’’

Ms Garth­waite said longterm strate­gies are also al­ready in place to en­sure this skills shortage is not a con­cern into the fu­ture.

She said it in­cludes re­cruit­ment of more mid­wives, and up­skilling ex­ist­ing nurses.

‘‘We al­ready of­fer schol­ar­ships for mid­wifery train­ing, and we’ve only re­cently iden­ti­fied a De­niliquin Hospi­tal staff mem­ber to re­ceive that schol­ar­ship.

‘‘We also of­fer other ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, and we’re look­ing at a ro­ta­tion of mid­wives through larger cen­tres which also pro­vides some suc­ces­sion op­por­tu­ni­ties.’’

MLHD is also im­prov­ing its sup­port of the mid­wifery staff, ac­cord­ing to Ms Garth­waite, which in­cludes the soon-to-be com­pleted re­cruit­ment of a clin­i­cal mid­wifery con­sul­tant.

‘‘We ex­pect some­one to be em­ployed to this po­si­tion in the next few weeks.

‘‘We’ve never had this role at De­niliquin be­fore. It is mainly a sup­port and re­search role, and with some hands-on work.

‘‘The role is there to sup­port the mid­wifery team and to im­prove the ex­pe­ri­ence of women by mak­ing them the cen­tre of all de­ci­sions about their care.

‘‘As a new po­si­tion, this also aids in suc­ces­sion op­tions that lo­cal mid­wives can as­pire to if they want to go fur­ther. We’re very ex­cited about that.’’

Rose­mary Garth­waite

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