Delays in Bellingen maternity service

JESSICA Phillips doesn't know where her baby will be born.

The Bellingen mother-to-be is 34 weeks pregnant, but delays at Bellinger River District Hospital relating to the start of a new maternity service have her worried.

“I hear births are being transferred to Coffs Harbour, and I don't know where my baby will be born,” Jessica said.

The new maternity service was approved for Bellingen in July 2008 but the service has yet to start. Bellingen doctor Trevor Cheney said the continued delays in staffing the approved new maternity service is encouraging 'dangerous and high-risk homebirth practices'.

The Advocate understands that Bellinger River District Hospital recently had three days straight without a midwife on duty.

* A community rally has been planned for Friday for Bellingen residents to voice their concerns. The rally will start at 9.30am outside the Bellinger River District Hospital.



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