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Byron Shire
December 7, 2021

Murwillumbah birthing-service revival urged

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Murwillumbah’s popular midwife-led birthing service which was controversially terminated two months ago is set to be reinstated.

Last Thursday, the committee overseeing a review of maternity services at Murwillumbah District Hospital (MDH) made three recommendations which will be put to the local health district board at its September 2 meeting.

Chief executive of the Northern NSW Health District (NNSWLHD) , Chris Crawford, said the recommendations concern the Tweed Valley Birthing Service at the hospital provided by the Midwifery Group Practice (MGP).

He said that on the basis of the steering committee’s advice, it was recommended that birthing of low-risk mothers participating in the MGP Service ‘be approved to deliver at the hospital once a neonatal resuscitation escalation plan has been developed and the MGP midwives have completed their advanced training and schedule their ongoing skill maintenance had been arranged’.

Mr Crawford said women also will be allowed to self-refer to the MGP Service; and it’s also recommended the NNSW LHD develops a plan to ‘more actively promote the MGP Service’.

He said that other recommendations contained in the committee’s Maternity Services Risk Assessment Report are ‘still being considered’ and further announcements would be made ‘after further analysis of the report’.

A consumer representative on the steering committee hailed the decision as a win for the community.

Murwillumbah mum Rachael Bryant, who campaigned for maintaining the birthing service at the hospital, said the new model reflected continuity of care with one health-care provider from ‘beginning to end’.

Mrs Bryant told APN Media that through self-referrals to the birthing service, instead of through a GP, the ‘most appropriate low-risk mothers will be able to use the midwife-led ward’.

‘All the evidence supports that continuity provides excellent care and health outcomes for mothers and babies,’ she said.

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