Maternity service is overdue

IF Bellingen maternity services were a pregnant woman she'd now be overdue, with more than nine months passing between a new service being approved and the service actually beginning.

Delays in the starting of a new maternity service that was approved in July last year are causing more than pregnancy pains for Bellingen women, with a community rally held last week falling on deaf ears due to North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) chief executive Chris Crawford failing to attend an annual meeting he was scheduled to attend on the same day as the rally.

In a statement to the Advocate last week, a spokesperson for NCAHS said Mr Crawford would be attending Bellinger River District Hospital on Friday to conduct his annual 'road show' to discuss key priorities and objectives for 2009.

Despite the 'road show' seeing Mr Crawford visit other hospitals on the very same day, his visit to Bellingen was postponed 'due to an urgent briefing' with NSW Health that morning.

The community rally aimed to question Mr Crawford on why the service is still being delayed.

NCAHS said the start of the new maternity service has been delayed due to a major review of staffing levels, no doubt due to NCAHS' need to shed 400 full-time equivalent staff.

“To date the review is still being conducted and no date has been set for the new maternity service to begin,” a spokesperson said.

What do you think about the delays in starting the Bellingen maternity service and that state of hospitals generally on the north coast?



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