Gladstone Hospital's maternity ward to get $1.25m upgrade
GLADSTONE Hospital's maternity ward will be expanded and more midwives hired after a $1.25 million funding boost from the State Government.
The funding is designed to help the hospital deal with an expected jump in demand from October 1, after the Gladstone Mater Hospital ceases offering maternity services due to declining birth numbers.
Gladstone MP Glenn Butcher yesterday called the Mater's decision "so disappointing to our community", but promised Gladstone Hospital would be ready to shoulder the load.
"There are now about 600 births a year at the public maternity unit, and this is expected to grow to between 650 and 700 from October 1," he said.
$440,000 of the funding will go towards transforming the hospital's nursery into a 24-hour facility, meaning parents whose newborns need overnight care will no longer have to stay overnight elsewhere.
The upgrade will mean more midwives and more nursery nurses for Gladstone, along with extra medical support, catering and domestic staff.
One of the hospital's two support birthing suites will also be upgraded to a full suite, bringing the total to three.
CQHHS executive director for Gladstone and Banana Joanne Glover said work on the upgrades would start soon.
"I plan to kick it off next week... I also plan for arrangements to be made for recruitment to go out today," she said.
"The Mater staff have been given my office's contact details, in case they want to come and have a look around and ask questions about the roles that we will be advertising."
Ms Glover said Gladstone Hospital's maternity ward was a similar facility to the Mater's from an obstetrics perspective.
"We've got a fantastic team here at Gladstone," she said.
"I would encourage all women (currently in the private system) to either discuss it with their private obstetrician now if they're birthing after October 1, or come and talk to the maternity staff here."