The Western NSW Local Health District announced this week a midwife-led birthing service will be introduced at Parkes Hospital, while efforts continue to return medical obstetric services.
It is expected the service will be operational by the end of next year. Birthing will continue to occur at Forbes, with both towns continuing to offer pre and post-natal care.
Acting Chief Executive Mark Spittal said while the district continues to make every effort to recruit obstetric GPs and anaesthetists, a Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) was a safe and effective model for low-risk births where medical intervention is not anticipated or planned. “Where appropriate, the MGP offers families a level of choice that hasn’t previously been available in both Parkes and Forbes,” Mark said.
“This will enable birthing to return to Parkes for mums not needing medical services such as an induction or caesarean.
“The available medical obstetric services will be focussed at Forbes to ensure there is stability and certainty as to where services are available.
Mark said when it came to maternity services, local women and families told them they wanted certainty and safety more than anything else.
“Establishing the MGP will create a level of certainty for families as they approach the birth of their child,” he said.
Plans for developing the new service are already underway. A project officer will work with various parties to bring the Parkes and Forbes maternity services together to offer a single, effective, safe service.
A number of critical factors need to be put into place to support the MGP, including ensuring staff are fully trained and that processes are in place to assess women during pregnancy, and to cater for unexpected births or complications during birth.