Maternity services are set to return to Leeton hospital.
Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) has announced that from Monday November 20, Leeton Hospital will offer a new midwifery model of care which will allow well women with uncomplicated pregnancies to birth with midwives at the hospital.
The announcement follows weeks of sustained protests by a group calling itself MIA concerned citizens, which organised a petition – attracting 4000 signatures, demanding a return to baby services.
Leeton hospital has been without baby services for more than 18 months.
Hospital Manager Anthony Naylor said the local midwives are looking forward to introducing this new service for the Leeton community.
“Our midwives are excited about the start of the new model of care which has been developed in consultation with pregnant women and their families, local clinicians and the community,” Mr Naylor said.
Obstetricians will continue to be involved in the care of women with complex pregnancies who require specialist obstetric services from larger hospitals.
“Leeton midwives are now inviting women early in their pregnancies to arrange an antenatal appointment to discuss a pregnancy care and plan for birthing,” Mr Naylor said.
Michael Kidd, a radiographer at the hospital who also ran as a Labor candidate at the recent Murray by-election, was happy with the announcement.
“I think everyone around here with be very pleased to hear this news”.
Mr Kidd said health services were a big issue at the election, but he thinks the NSW Government hasn’t learned their lesson.
“We’ve just seen the NSW Government is spending $1.8 billion to rebuild two stadiums in Sydney… a lot of country hospitals are still struggling… what’s more important?”
“You could redevelop 1800 stadiums across the state for that amount”.
In regards to Leeton hospital, MLHD says women can self-refer to the service or obtain a referral from their family GP.
Mr Naylor said the philosophy of the midwifery model is to focus on supporting women through the pregnancy, birthing and postnatal journey.
“The focus is on the woman’s unique needs and expectations to support her and her family to achieve their goals,” he said.
This model is supported nationally and internationally as a service providing safe, quality care to women and their families.
“Women who have experienced this type of care report a greater understanding of their journey, state they are well prepared for parenting and report a high level of satisfaction with their care,” he said.
Women receive antenatal education and care from a small team of midwives and birth in a supportive environment with midwives who have provided care during the pregnancy.
Postnatal care can be in the hospital or the home environment with the midwife visiting with the family.
Women with complicated pregnancies will continue to be referred to Griffith or Wagga Wagga hospitals for a higher level of care.
Leeton Mayor Councillor Paul Maytom said: “Council is pleased an opening date has finally been locked in. Leeton Shire families are desperate to see their local birthing service back in action.”