'I'm sick of Gladstone being second best' Cr Bush protests
IT WAS a decision not taken lightly and one that was "terribly hard, distressing and incredibly sad" as Gladstone Region councillor Cindi Bush announced her resignation from the council yesterday.
Cr Bush's resignation was both in protest over the upcoming closure of maternity services at the Mater Hospital and for family reasons after husband, obstetrician and gynecologist Dr Adam Bush announced his resignation from Mater Hospital.
The Bushes had been considering their options "from day one" in June after Mercy Health and Aged Care Central Queensland announced the maternity service at Gladstone Mater would be closing on October 1.
MHACCQ cited declining birth rates at Gladstone Mater as the reason for its closure as the service was becoming unviable with "less than 10 births a month".
Cr Bush outlined her grievances in her resignation letter to Mayor Matt Burnett.
She highlighted "the significant impacts of changes to Gladstone's Obstetric services privately, and the lack of faith in the public system's ability to navigate its way through the true needs of the community".
"It is with much regret, sadness, frustration and despair that I tender my resignation as councillor with the Gladstone Regional Council," the letter read.
"We have both tried very hard to find ways to overcome this change but no amount of negotiating gives surety or any type of satisfaction that Gladstone women will receive the calibre of respect and treatment that they deserve.
"Quite frankly, the decisions made have ensured that there is no place for him here, any more." Cr Bush explained her decision was an incredibly difficult one to make.
"We never expected to make any decision about moving from Gladstone for at least another 10 years," she said.
"We're young 53-year-olds who love Gladstone and were committed to the region.
"When you're a wife of a doctor, particularly a specialist and even more so an obstetrician, your life revolves around what he does and he loves what he does and is very good at what he does.
"He's very humble and he won't tell you, but he's up to 6500 babies for Gladstone which is an incredible achievement and our whole life has revolved around him building a wonderful practice with wonderful memories and service to the community. But that's just basically fallen to bits."
The former nurse became particularly emotional when discussing how she felt Gladstone was being treated as second-class citizens when it came to health services.
"It makes me upset, angry and sad that this is the demise of good practice, good medicine and good outcomes for regional centres," Cr Bush said.
"Why are Gladstone women any different than any other community? Why do they have to leave town to have a baby?
"That's ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous. I'm sick to death of Gladstone being second best to every other place in the region.
"We need our own health identity and as soon as we get out of the clutches of Rockhampton the better."
The resignation of her husband also influenced Cr Bush's decision as she doesn't "have the strength to live on my own in Gladstone and see out my term while my husband works elsewhere".
Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service chief executive Steve Williamson responded to the Bushes' statement on a lack of faith in the public system.
"I am very sad to hear of Dr Bush's decision to leave Gladstone, and am disappointed and puzzled to hear of his lack of faith in the public system," Mr Williamson said.
"We have also been in discussions with Dr Bush and the other private doctors in Gladstone to explore options for the public hospital to work with the private doctors.
"In fact, we have suggested five different models of service in which we could work together to help provide an ongoing private birthing service.
"CQ Health is absolutely committed to supporting the needs of the Gladstone community."
Cr Bush was elected to the council in March 2016 and had a great deal of interest in the arts, culture and community activities.
A graduate of Gladstone State High School, Cr Bush has three adult children - Charlotte, Bridie and George - who have since left Gladstone to pursue their own careers.
She also helped establish the first palliative care ward while she was a nurse at the hospital.