Tweed Valley Birth Service re-opens today

Cute newborns are likely at Murwillumbah hospital after Monday.
Cute newborns are likely at Murwillumbah hospital after Monday. Patrick Woods

THE Tweed Valley Birthing Service will re-open on Monday, with a midwife-led unit for low-risk births at Murwillumbah Hospital.

However, the maternity ward for scheduled C-sections will close and move to Tweed Hospital.

It will be replaced with the Women's Care Unit, offering post-birth gynaecological surgery and ante-natal care.

A decision to close the maternity ward was made after data showed just four Murwillumbah mothers a year* had previously required C-section delivery.

None of the clinical staff will lose their jobs.

Consumer representative Rachel Bryant said under the new continuity of care model, women would be discharged earlier from hospital (after four hours) but would receive more post-natal care at home.

"In a medical model you might stay in hospital for 24-48 hours after birth and then you're on your own. If you needed help, or were struggling with breastfeeding, you'd have to book into a GP," Ms Bryant said.

"Mothers will now have four to six weeks of home visits by the midwife who delivered their baby or by one of the other case-load midwives."

Northern NSW Health chief executive Chris Crawford said midwives will undergo advanced training in neonatal resuscitation and a resuscitation escalation plan.

He said the Murwillumbah and Tweed Hospital's caesarean section birthing services will amalgamate.

The Murwillumbah Maternity Ward which previously serviced that ward will become a Women's Care Unit.

The Murwillumbah caesarean section birthing service will be replaced by the undertaking of extra gynaecological surgery at Murwillumbah.

Women undergoing gynaecological surgery will be accommodated on the Murwillumbah Surgical Ward.

"These changes can be accomplished due to the significant fall in the number of births at (Murwillumbah) and (Tweed) over the last couple of years," Mr Crawford said.

"Over 70% of the women undergoing caesarean section births at Murwillumbah live closer to Tweed, as they reside on the Gold Coast, Tweed Heads area and Kingscliff.

"Only four of the forty-two women who had caesareans at Murwillumbah Hospital in 2014/15 resided in Murwillumbah."

The affected MDH Maternity Ward Midwives and the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association were briefed on October 9, Mr Crawford said.

Consultation on the implementation of these decisions has commenced.

Self-refer to the Tweed Valley Birth Service on 02 6672 0108.

Correction: Only four of the forty-two women who had caesareans at Murwillumbah in 2014/15 resided in Murwillumbah. The original story said it was four per month.


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