Murwillumbah Hospital.
Murwillumbah Hospital. File photo

Low-risk births going to Tweed

THE North Coast Area Health Service has admitted that some women expecting “low-risk births” are being asked to go to The Tweed Hospital rather than Murwillumbah District Hospital during November.

The admission follows concerns from doctors and some patients that maternity services at the hospital are being temporarily halted and may not re-start after November.

The service dismissed those concerns last week, saying a new model of care was being introduced at the hospital which would still cater for low-risk births.

A spokesperson has now conceded: “As November will be the transition month between the previous birthing model and the new midwifery lead model, it has been necessary to refer some Murwillumbah women to The Tweed Hospital for low-risk births in November.”

But she insisted: “There are no plans to cease maternity services at Murwillumbah District Hospital in November.”

Although there were births already scheduled at Murwillumbah through November, those women who would instead now need to go to The Tweed Hospital had been contacted and advised of the situation.

She said the “midwifery lead model of care” would commence at the hospital next Monday.

Meanwhile a Tweed Heads West woman says she would rather give birth “in the car park” of Murwillumbah District Hospital than go to The Tweed Hospital.

Melissa Campbell told the Tweed Daily News a friend aged 18 years had just given birth to her first child and was transported from Murwillumbah to Tweed as she was going to need an epidural.

“Her partner and mother were unable to travel with her via ambulance,” Ms Campbell said.

“A Murwillumbah nurse rode with her and offered to stay five to 10 minutes until the family arrived.

“It was then that a Tweed nurse told her she didn't need anyone to hold her hand.

“What a joke. Giving birth for the first time can be a scary time for the expectant mother, let alone being so young.

“That same nurse later in the delivery room told the mother to be to 'Shut up' as she was crying from pain!

“I am utterly disgusted.”

Ms Campbell said the health service should bring back “Mur-bah maternity where the staff are caring, compassionate and understanding”.

“At this rate I would rather give birth in the car park of Mur-Bah Hospital then be transferred to Tweed,” she said.

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