Maternity services update – 26 May 2020

The planned review of Castlemaine Health’s maternity services has now commenced.

Dr Rupert Sherwood has been appointed to lead the review. Dr Sherwood is the Acting Clinical Services Director Women’s and Children’s Division at Western Health, and former president of the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. He has 20 years of experience as an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist Consultant and over 40 years as a medical practitioner, including 10 years as a GP obstetrician in Albany WA.

Dr Sherwood will be supported by an experienced midwife. He is now in the process of seeking maternity services related documentation and will be booking in the interviews with staff, GP obstetricians and other stakeholders that will form a core part of the review process. The review is scheduled to take around six weeks to complete. A draft report is due on Friday 19 June.

Castlemaine Health is engaging with Bendigo Health to provide additional support over the coming months to help strengthen the service. Castlemaine Health, Safer Care Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services are fully committed to retaining a birthing service at Castlemaine Health. Maternity services are currently scheduled to reopen on 1 July 2020 subject to the review’s recommendations.

CEO Ian Fisher said: “With Dr Sherwood’s expertise and the support of Bendigo Health, it may be possible to reopen maternity services earlier than the 1 July date tabled. However, there are many factors to consider and it is too early for us to be definitive. We will be guided by the findings as the review progresses and will continue to do our utmost to reopen maternity services as soon as possible.”

Castlemaine Health’s Board of Management is fully committed to the review and to reinstating maternity services. At their monthly meeting last night, Board Members were shared a copy of the community petition to reopen maternity services. The petition was delivered to Margaret Peggy Ronnau, Board Chair, on Monday this week.

Ian Fisher said: “I would like to thank the community and our GP obstetricians for the incredible support they’ve demonstrated for our birthing service. While I’m unable to comment on the contents of the review, I’ll continue to keep the community informed of our progress as we work towards a return to normal services.”

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