Maternity services update – 25 June

The independent review of Castlemaine Health’s maternity service delivered a draft report on Friday 19 June. The report was considered by the Board of Management in a special meeting on Monday, 22 June.

Our Board has made an in-principle decision to accept and endorse the draft report and its recommendations to ensure a return to a safe maternity service.

The review recommends a new model of maternity care be implemented, along with new clinical and governance processes. The reviewers advised that it would present an unacceptable risk to reopen the service until the critical recommendations are addressed.

We will be putting in additional resources and doing everything possible to resume birthing at Castlemaine Health as soon as possible. However, the health and wellbeing of our mothers and babies is paramount. We will be guided by the progress of the implementation plan in making our final call on when our local mothers will again be giving birth in Castlemaine.

The review has examined the procedures, policies, clinical practice protocols and maternity clinical governance systems that determine the capacity, capability and safety of a maternity service. The report makes clear that implementation of the recommendations is needed to ensure the service is safe, viable and sustainable for our community’s mothers and babies for the future.

A recommendation implementation governance group and a number of working groups will be established to progress the revised model of maternity care, along with a consumer group. Safer Care Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services have offered to be part of the recommendation implementation governance group in a monitoring and support capacity. Bendigo Health have also offered significant support.

In the words of the reviewer “This review should be taken as an opportunity to become a standard setter in the provision of Best Care in maternity within a clearly defined capability that is representative of many similar sized units across Australia.”

We will continue to sustain our current antenatal services locally during this period. We will also develop pathways with Bendigo Health to enable women to return to Castlemaine Health shortly after birth to receive the rest of their hospital care. There will be no job losses while we work together to resume our birthing service.

A further statement will be made by the Board and CEO Ian Fisher once the final report is adopted.

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