Amy Page, Clifford Rose and ten-month-old Hudson who was born at the Gladstone Hospital.
Amy Page, Clifford Rose and ten-month-old Hudson who was born at the Gladstone Hospital. Poppy + Rose Photography

MATERNITY CLOSURE: Gladstone mum reassures private patients

A DECLINING number of births at the Gladstone Mater has led to the private hospital closing its maternity services on October 1.

Mercy Health and Aged Care Central Queensland announced its decision yesterday, which chief executive officer Lynne Sheehan said had not been taken lightly.

She said all options to continue to deliver babies had been exhausted but the declining number of births made the service no longer viable.

"Throughout the whole decision-making process, we have the needs of Gladstone families at the very heart of our deliberations," Ms Sheehan said.

"All women currently booked into the Gladstone Mater maternity service, will be seen until 1 October. After that date, alternative arrangements will be made with Gladstone public hospital."

CQ Health chief executive Steve Williamson said CQ Health and Gladstone Hospital would ensure they could safely meet any increased demand.

The Gladstone Hospital has on average 600 births a year and the Mater Hospital's service had about 10 births a month.

"We have been working to assess the likely impacts of the closure of the Mater private maternity service to determine our service requirements and ensure we meet the needs of the community," Mr Williamson said.

Gladstone mother of one Amy Page said residents should not be concerned about giving birth at the public hospital instead of going private.

Ms Page said the midwives and doctors at the public hospital saved her son's life.

When Hudson was born Ms Page said he was unresponsive for six minutes due to a pre-existing Group B streptococci infection.

Ms Page struggled to put into words what the birth of her first child was like and being unable to hold him for his first 24 hours.

She thought he would need to be flown to Brisbane but they were able to receive treatment at the Gladstone Hospital.

"I just remember when he was in the cradle and they were all working on him and helping him breathe, there would've been six midwives and doctors there," she said.

Now Hudson is a happy and healthy 10-month-old boy, and Ms Page and her partner Clifford Rose's second boy is due in two months.

Member for Gladstone Glenn Butcher said he worried what impact the service's closure would have on jobs at the hospital.

"This decision should have given consideration to those women who are having babies in the next nine months and alternatives planned for staff in that time," he said.

"Time to move on Mater and give the facility to a private provider who can support this great community."

Ms Sheehan said the Gladstone Mater would work closely with the community to ensure the hospital services meet the changing needs of the people of Gladstone.

She said looking after the staff who worked in the Gladstone Mater maternity service would be her first priority.

"There is no doubt that the maternity service offered at Gladstone Mater is of the highest quality and I pay tribute to our doctors and our wonderful staff for the role they have played in bringing joy to so many Gladstone families," Ms Sheehan said.



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