Base gets $1.25 million to ‘pick up the slack’ for Mater bubs

“Gladstone Hospital will hire more midwives and expand maternity services, so soon-to-be mothers can rest assured they will continue to have access to quality care in Gladstone.”

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher announced today that Gladstone’s public hospital would pick up the slack following the Gladstone Mater Hospital’s announcement to cease offering maternity services.

“On Wednesday Gladstone Mater Hospital announced they would no longer be offering maternity services – this is a big blow to our community,” Mr Butcher said.

“I’m pleased to confirm that the Palaszczuk Government will provide up to $1.25 million in funding to Gladstone Hospital, so they can provide extra maternity services to meet demand.

“This funding will also employ additional midwives and other staff at Gladstone Hospital to keep up with demand and ensure the hospital continues to provide safe and high-quality care to the people of Gladstone.

“Recruitment will start almost immediately, and the hospital absolutely encourages Mater Hospital staff to apply. “Gladstone Hospital will be ready come 1 October.”

Mr Butcher said while he was pleased the government had stepped in, he was disappointed women would no longer have the option to have their baby in a private hospital in Gladstone.

“Reducing services in private hospitals ultimately erodes patient choice, and that’s not what I want for our community,” he said. “It also drives up demand in our public hospitals. I don’t want to see the Mater continue to cut services, giving people less choice and increasing the number of patients at Gladstone Hospital.

”There are currently about 600 births a year at the public maternity unit, and this is expected to grow to between 650 and 700 from 1 October.”

Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Steven Miles said the high cost of private health insurance was to blame: “The sky-rocketing cost of private health insurance, increased excesses and exclusions, has caused fewer Queenslanders to take up private hospital insurance, and discouraged people with insurance from using the private hospital system.

“The Mater Hospital in Mackay recently announced the closure of their emergency after-hours service and now Gladstone Mater Hospital is closing maternity services putting increased demand on our public hospitals.

“The Federal Government are failing Queenslanders when it comes to ensuring affordable private health insurance and access to private hospitals.”

Mr Miles said the recent state budget includes $152.7 million in growth funding in 2018-19 across Queensland to counter the increasing demand for public hospital services.