Maternity unit: million spent to close it down

Interested in home birth, hospital birth or private midwifery care? Questions or comments? Email Melissa Maimann or call 0400 418 448. Link

Much ado about the establishment of a new midwifery-led unit in Sydney. We already have a few midwifery-led units - at Belmont, Wyong and Ryde. All units are midwifery-led and if obstetric care is needed, this is easily accessed at collaborating hospitals. Generally the women are very satisfied with this model of care and Australian women are demanding models of maternity care that are safe, respectful and that support the natural processes or pregnancy and birth. A controversial decision was taken to convert the standard obstetric service at Mona Vale Hospital into a new midwifery led service, catering for women with low-risk pregnancies and labours. Should any complications develop in pregnancy or labour, the women are transferred to Manly Hospital. The negative tone of this article will more than likely be followed by reports in coming months of safe and satisfying births.

THE cost of renovating Mona Vale Hospital’s maternity ward is now approaching $1 million and all residents will have to show for it is a downgraded, stand-alone, midwife-led birthing unit.

Last July the discovery of asbestos forced the maternity ward to be relocated to Manly Hospital with a promise from the State Government that it would return after remediation works were completed.

The area health service, however, reneged and instead announced it would only open a midwife birthing unit by the end of the year.

... Mr Stokes said it was hard to fathom how so much money could be spent downgrading a service.

... Eunice Raymond, from the Save Mona Vale Hospital group, described the growing costs as outrageous.

“They’re spending all this money but we are still not getting a maternity ward,” she said.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448