Pregnant pause in maternity service

BELLINGEN doctor Trevor Cheney says the continued delays in staffing for Bellinger River District Hospital's approved new maternity service is creating a crisis in local birthing.

“It is a matter of urgency that we know whether we can employ midwives or not,” Dr Cheney said.

“Right now we don't really have enough staff for the maternity service.

“And we are deeply concerned that the loss of the service is already encouraging dangerous and high-risk homebirth practices.”

Last week the North Coast Area Health Service issued a statement confirming the model had been approved but said implementation was on hold 'pending the outcome of a major NCAHS staffing review'.

Dr Cheney said doctors at the hospital had now been waiting four months for an answer.

“We simply don't know what to do - with no staff, there is no new model. We believe it is vital every woman has access to the service regardless of their birthing philosophy.”

He said both he and Dr Deidre Little wanted to start planning the new service so pregnant couples knew the level of antenatal care available locally. The NCAHS said it would be writing to the hospital's Medical Staff Council explaining the situation.



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