New stats show impact of maternity service closure
TWO general practitioners focused on supporting women who want to birth privately have been hired at the Gladstone Hospital, following the closure of Gladstone Mater's maternity service.
Minister for Health Steven Miles said the GPs, combined with more money and staff, would enable Gladstone Hospital to keep up with more births.
Gladstone Mater closed its services in October, but birthing figures from Gladstone Hospital show it did not have more babies born that month.
The total births at Gladstone Hospital in October this year was 52, compared to 51 last year. Births dropped from July 1 to October 31 too, with 178 babies born during that period this year, compared to 209 last year.
In a response to a petition about Mater's decision to close the maternity ward with 462 signatures, Dr Miles said while it was "very disappointing", work was being done to upgrade Gladstone Hospital's facilities and gain more staff.
He said these changes, expected to be completed by January next year, would ensure the neonatal nursery was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The petition called for more effective "co-operation between Gladstone Hospital and Mater" and requested a meeting with all stakeholders including local government, industry partners, community representatives and the hospital board to discuss the closure.
Dr Miles did not directly address the calls for a meeting. He said Queensland Health had invested more than $1 million in additional funding for more midwives and nurses at Gladstone Hospital.