Portland District Health (PDH) is pleased to announce that birthing services will reopen on Wednesday August 17 at 7am. The announcement follows an exhaustive search to recruit midwives to the health service in the face of workforce shortage across Australia and the world.
This welcome news builds on the work of the specialist rural maternity consultant Fiona Faulks and the newly established Maternity Services Community Advisory Group, as they continue to develop a service model customised to best meet the needs of Portland and the region for the long-term.
PDH Interim CEO Karena Prevett said PDH was always determined to bring back birthing services as soon as it was safe to do so and the reopening was testament to the work of PDH staff.
“We’re really excited to reopen our birthing services and I know our midwives and obstetrician are too,” Ms Prevett said.
“We’re passionate about the delivery of birthing services here in Portland and we’re pleased that we have overcome PDH’s rostering challenges.
“I want to thank our staff, neighbouring health services and the Department of Health for their assistance in navigating this difficult period. I also thank and acknowledge the patience and support of women and families impacted by the temporary diversion. We owe you a debt of gratitude.”
Birthing services at PDH will now run alongside all the other services that have continued throughout the diversion, such as antenatal clinics, birthing classes and domiciliary care. PDH has already contacted all mothers to discuss their individual care plans now that birthing services have reopened.
Ms Prevett also said that while the reopening was very good news, it was important to acknowledge that the long-term challenges facing maternity services in the region remain.
“We need to be clear with our community, this is not a permanent solution. We remain vulnerable to short-term challenges caused by unforeseen sick leave and other rostering disruptions. That’s why we are continuing to explore new models tailored to our region that are consistent with the recommendations of the Hillis Review,” Ms Prevett said.
“I’ve been pleased to see firsthand the important work of Fiona Faulks and her team, as they work closely with the community, neighbouring health services and people across the health system to develop a model tailored to our region’s geography, population, workforce and community needs.
“The Maternity Services Community Advisory Group met for the first time last month and I’m excited about what they’ll develop for the future, and the possibilities for maternity services in Portland and district, alongside our colleagues in the region. “In the meantime, we’re getting on with the job of reopening the birthing services. It’s wonderful that we can again offer a full maternity service at PDH, and provide safe, high-quality, women-centred care.”