Maternity services update – 10 June

The review of Castlemaine Health’s maternity services continues this week.

Following an initial documentation review, Dr Sherwood and Ms Smith conducted onsite interviews on Friday at Castlemaine Health. Further interviews are occurring throughout this week.

The review is examining the procedures, policies, clinical practice protocols and maternity clinical governance systems that determine the capacity, capability and safety of a maternity service. Castlemaine Health paused its maternity services while the review is being conducted.

The review and pause in service is supported by the Department of Health and Human Services and Safer Care Victoria. Castlemaine Health’s Board of Management and Executive have stated their commitment to being guided by the findings of the review as it progresses. A draft report is due on Friday, 19 June.

CEO Ian Fisher said: “We had hoped that the review’s early findings could enable maternity services to resume while the process was taking place. However, that has not happened. Reinstatement of the service is targeted for 1 July but remains subject to the review’s findings and recommendations.”

It is expected that increased management and oversight of our service will be required for the implementation of the review’s findings. To resource this, a new Clinical Maternity Lead position has been created to head up our maternity service. The role will oversee implementation of the recommendations. It will also ensure our service is operating in line with the appropriate quality and safety standards.

Resourcing for maternity is also in line with the Safe Patient Care (Nurse to Patient and Midwife to Patient Ratios) Amendment Bill 2020, which was introduced to the Victorian Parliament on 2 June. Amendments in the Bill aim to ensure that staffing ratios acknowledge increasing patient complexity, changing models of care and the growing demand for health services.

Ian Fisher said: “We are fortunate to have a very dedicated and professional team of midwives already in our service. This new role will provide leadership and focus on the governance side. It is part of our ongoing work to return services as quickly as possible. I would like to apologise to those affected by this review. I join the community in their desire to reinstate a much-loved service that will continue long into the future.”

The new Clinical Maternity Lead role will be advertised in the coming weeks.

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