Rumours hospital may lose births

RUMOURS that maternity services at Murwillumbah Hospital are about to stop were yesterday doused by the North Coast Area Health Service which says it is simply introducing a different “model of care”.

Expectant mothers and some hospital staff had feared the obstetrics clinic at the hospital would be closed down from November 1 for the Christmas break - and possibly not re-open.

That would force local expectant mums to use maternity services at The Tweed Hospital where those with more difficult pregnancies are already being sent.

But North Coast Area Health Service (NCAHS) spokesperson yesterday said: “There are no plans to close the obstetrics unit at Murwillumbah District Hospital”.

Instead, from Monday November 2 the hospital would “introduce a new model of care for expectant mothers”.

“The new maternity model of care will provide ante-natal, birthing and post-natal care,” the spokesperson said.

“Shared ante-natal care between midwives and the local GPs will be an additional option for pregnant women.”

The spokesperson said the changes were announced in early March 2009.

But state MP for Lismore, Thomas George, whose electorate covers the hospital, said the change was what locals had been fighting against.

Mr George said Coalition members asking questions in parliament last month had been told future plans for the obstetrics service at Murwillumbah included a low risk birthing service led by mid-wives, including “normal deliveries”.

However, high risk services would be conducted as an “outreach service from The Tweed Hospital”.



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