28 Jun Gladstone Families Rejoice As Hospital Maternity Bypass Ends
After almost a year since the Gladstone Hospital Maternity ward was put on bypass, the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service (CQHHS) has announced the reintroduction of full birthing services at Gladstone Hospital as of June 13. At Phase 3, all expectant mothers with low – risk pregnancies, being 37 weeks or more gestation, can give birth closer to home at Gladstone Hospital. Higher risk pregnancies will be referred to Rockhampton as has previously been the case. The highest risk pregnancies have always been referred to tertiary hospitals and this will continue.
Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Women, Shannon Fentiman, has recently enunciated her appeasement towards the maternity ward crisis for Central Queensland.
“One of my priorities as Health Minister and Minister for Women was to ensure that women in regional Queensland have access to high quality care, close to home, no matter where they live,”
“I want to thank the amazing women who met with me, and tirelessly campaigned for local birthing services in their community. I also want to acknowledge the advocacy of local MP, Minister Glenn Butcher.” said Ms Fentimen.
“I acknowledge the challenges that are being felt by maternity services across the state and I want to thank all the hardworking staff for continuing to provide exceptional care for this community,”
“I know this commitment to return birthing services to Gladstone comes with great relief for many expecting mothers and families. I will continue to support those on the frontline to ensure we can deliver a safe and sustainable maternity service into the future.” stated Ms Fentimen.
Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing Glenn Butcher, who is also a member for Gladstone has expressed his gratitude regarding the bypass being lifted.
“This has been a difficult wait for many, and I thank the Gladstone community for their patience and ongoing advocacy,”
“We cast our net and have now recruited enough obstetrics and gynaecology specialists to see the return of these crucial services to the Gladstone Hospital, and we have been committed to rolling out Phase 3 by June and we have achieved just that.” stated Mr Butcher.
Like many hospitals, the region was impacted by staff shortages, and was unable to operate a full birthing service. A phased reintroduction of services has followed since October 2022, with the third and final phase now being reintroduced. Extensive work has been undertaken to recruit qualified medical professionals to cover vacancies, while also building a framework that will deliver a safe and sustainable long – term solution for maternity care across Central Queensland.
Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive, Dr Emma McCahon has also applauded the efforts of our front line health care workers.
“Our multidisciplinary maternity care teams across Central Queensland have worked tirelessly to support expectant mothers and their families while birthing has been on bypass at Gladstone Hospital. I unreservedly thank them for ensuring we continue to deliver exemplary patient care during this period,” said Dr McCahon.
“I am thrilled we have returned to full birthing at Gladstone Hospital. We are returning to a service that is in a much better state than what we started with. Our team is stronger, and we better understand what our community wants and needs from a maternity service,”
“Since we began reinstating birthing in October 2022, we have seen more than half of our families give birth at Gladstone.” said Dr McCahon.
Federal Member for Flynn, Colin Boyce also welcomed the announcement and said it’s long overdue.
“After countless meetings, community forums, media events, ministerial representations, and speeches in Parliament, the Gladstone Hospital Maternity Ward bypass has finally ended,”
“My sincere thank you goes to Jemma from Save Gladstone Maternity Ward and the Gladstone community for their continued advocacy for the restoration of services. As a community, we banded together for the services this region needs,” said Mr Boyce.
Hope, who is a local Gladstone mother, has voiced her excitement about the bypass being lifted.
“I feel extremely relieved, like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders!” said Hope.
“I’m expecting my third child in about four weeks time, so this is really fantastic news. I remember feeling very uncertain about what was going to happen, as I didn’t want to travel far to have my baby. I am most definitely satisfied with the outcome and would like to thank Jemma for speaking up on our behalf,”
“If it wasn’t for her continued support and drive for change, I would still be in that uncomfortable stage of uncertainty.” exclaimed Hope.