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New service offered by CHSA – updated

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Millicent Hospital

by S Lowe 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow

Country Health SA (CHSA) announced (Feb 10th) a new service for mothers and babies in the Millicent area. Midwives will visit eligible new mothers in their homes in the Millicent Catchment area. Mothers will receive two or three visits in the first six weeks after the birth and those needing additional visits, may request more.  The new service will begin on February 24th 2014.

The new Community Midwife Service will cover areas such as Mt Burr, Millicent, Southend and Beachport; the statement said.

Prior to this announcement, new mothers could make an appointment with a midwife at the Millicent Hospital. This system meant the midwife was in the hospital and could attend to other nursing and midwifery duties when available and when needed. The new scheme will take a midwife or midwives out of the hospital on the days there are at-home visits booked.

Additional health services are always welcome in any community but not at the expense of another service being removed and Millicent has been the victim of numerous lost services in recent years.

CHSA statement stopped short of saying the current service at the hospital would remain, or if it would be replaced with the new at-home visiting scheme but CHSA told 5THE FM/wattlerangenow today, that it would remain. CHSA confirmed today (Thurs) that the service would be available to both private and public patients and mothers further afield in the Kingston area can access services in Kingston.

CHSA said today (Wed) the new midwife service would save new mothers travelling long distances so soon after giving birth………. but continue to force mothers  travel long distances to birth.  Distance travel has not been a consideration by CHSA in their determined efforts to force mothers in labour to travel to Mt Gambier to give birth.

New mothers have been discharged from the Mt Gambier Hospital; sometimes only a few hours after the birth, to travel home or to the Millicent Hospital for their recovery, by provaye car and with a baby a few hours old.

The wider community, must also travel to Mt Gambier Hospital to give birth because CHSA has closed all obstetric services  in hospitals between Murray Bridge and Mt Gambier; a total of 363  kilometres.

CHSA’s decision to remove the services from the Millicent Hospital,  forces expectant mothers to travel long distances to birth and fathers to drive in stressful situations on dangerous and often isolated roads. Additional expense, travel, dangerous conditions and stress are now a regular part of becoming a new parent in regional South East Australia.

The removal of Obstetric Services from the Millicent Hospital mid way through 2013, hit the community of Millicent and surrounding communities from Kingston to Mt Gambier, including  Beachport and Southend, very hard.  650 people attended the Public Meeting in July 2013, thousands signed the petition and thousands signed and sent postcards of protest to the Premier  Weatherill.

Peter Chapman (CHSA)

Dr Peter Chapman CHSA

 Peter Chapman CHSA agreed to re-open negotiations with the Medical Clinic Millicent and find a way to re-instate Obstetric Services at the Millicent Hospital during the Public Meeting, but  CHSA went ahead with their decision to discontinue Obstetric Services from the Millicent Hospital mid way through last year despite the community outcry and their commitment to renew negotiations.

Helen Chalmers (CHSA)

Helen Chalmers CHSA

CHSA Helen Chalmers used the declining numbers of births at the Millicent Hospital, to justify the closure of Obstetric Services there.  During that time hospital staff referred120 new mothers- to- be to the Mt Gambier Hospital to birth. The numbers did decline with only 35 births recorded at the Millicent Hospital because of this practice.  If the majority of the 120 referred births taken place at Millicent, the numbers would have supported a continuing Obstetric Service.

Editors Comment: Will this new midwife scheme be used to justify another lost service from the Millicent Hospital?

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