Maternity services to reopen in two stages

Maternity services at Castlemaine Health will reopen in a two-stage approach from 22 March 2021 to be fully operational from 3 May 2021.

“We look forward to resuming the important role of caring for local women, babies and families throughout pregnancy, birth and early parenting,” says Castlemaine Health CEO, Sue Race.

“I would like to acknowledge the tireless work of our service review team and the tremendous support from Bendigo Health, Safer Care Victoria, the Department of Health and the Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation (ANMF), Victorian Branch to get to this point. Their commitment to offering locally based maternity services for regional women and families has matched our own. What we have come together to create will benefit our community well into the future.”

How the two-stage approach will work.

 Pregnancy care

Maternity services will open for referrals for pregnancy care Monday 22 March 2021.

Women who meet the criteria for care at Castlemaine Health and who are 31 weeks gestation or less on 22 March can:

  • self-refer by contacting Castlemaine Health maternity services direct
  • be referred by their general practitioner or general practitioner obstetrician.

Birthing services

Birthing services will open from Monday 3 May 2021 for births from 37 weeks gestation up to 42 weeks gestation, in line with the capability of a Level 2 maternity service.

These dates have been endorsed by the Castlemaine Health Board of Management and the Castlemaine Maternity Services Governance Group, which comprise members of the Castlemaine Health Board, staff members, consumers, Safer Care Victoria, the Department of Health and the ANMF, Victorian Branch.

About the service

Castlemaine Health is a Level 2 maternity service, offering local care for women and babies at low risk.

The service has a strong relationship and professional partnership with Bendigo Health, a Level 5 maternity service. The two will work closely together to ensure women transition smoothly between the services when required and benefit from the expertise, care and oversight of a broader team of clinical specialists. The relationship will also support the professional development of the Castlemaine maternity team.

Women referred to Castlemaine Health maternity service from 22 March 2021 will be allocated to one of three care pathways based on their needs, preferences and clinical profile. They will be cared for by a primary midwife, who will collaborate with General Practice Obstetricians, allied health and support services.

Midwifery Group Practice: where the woman will be cared for by a primary known midwife throughout pregnancy, labour and birth and early parenting.

Collaborative Shared Care: where the woman will receive pregnancy care from their chosen General Practice Obstetrician and a known midwife. Their midwife will then provide care for labour and birth and early parenting.

A third pathway, Complex Maternity Care, will be available to women who are not suitable for care at Castlemaine Health due to a higher risk profile. These women will be cared for at Bendigo Health or a higher-level service but may be suitable for transfer back to Castlemaine Health for care after the birth of their baby.

The re-opening of maternity services has been eagerly anticipated by the local and broader community.

“The Castlemaine Health Board’s commitment to review and renew and provide a strengthened maternity service has arrived,” says Castlemaine Health Board Chair, Peggy Ronnau. “This is a wonderful outcome for our community.”

Castlemaine Health CEO, Sue Race agrees.

“We are so pleased to be able to announce our opening dates and look forward to introducing our newly appointed Midwifery Group Practice team, including our new Midwifery Clinical Coordinator, in the very near future,” says Sue. “It’s a wonderful way to begin 2021.”

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