Maternity services update – 5 June

The review of Castlemaine Health’s maternity services continues this week, with the review team onsite for their interviews with Castlemaine Health Board members, Executive, staff, GP obstetricians, Bendigo Health representatives and patients.

The review is headed up by Dr Rupert Sherwood who is supported by Ms Lisa Smith, the Midwife Reviewer. Ms Smith is a registered midwife and nurse currently working at Joan Kirner Women’s and Children’s Hospital as the Maternity Services Operations Manager. Ms Smith has extensive experience in health management and maternity outcomes assessment. She has wide-ranging knowledge of birthing under a range of care models, with a strong appreciation of the challenges facing midwives in both high and lower resource settings.

Castlemaine Health, the Department of Health and Human Services, Safer Care Victoria and the local community are committed to retaining the highly valued local maternity service. Castlemaine Health has engaged with Bendigo Health to provide additional support to help strengthen the service.

Ian Fisher, CEO said: “The focus will be on the procedures, policies, clinical practice protocols and maternity clinical governance systems that determine our capacity, capability and safety of our maternity service. Castlemaine Health has temporally paused its maternity services while the review is being conducted.

Castlemaine Health provides level 2 maternity care for normal risk women with healthy pregnancies, with pregnancy care provided in the community by the local GP obstetricians. Labour birthing and domiciliary care are provided in collaboration with the local GP obstetricians and Castlemaine Health midwives. Women who require a higher level of maternity care during their pregnancies or labour are transferred mainly to Bendigo Health, a level 5 maternity service, and occasionally to the tertiary maternity services in Melbourne.

Ian Fisher said: “The objectives and scope of the review make clear that our priority is ensuring the service is safe and of the highest quality for our maternity patients. The review is progressing on schedule. We will return maternity services to normal as soon as possible. I’d like to thank the community and our GP obstetricians for their support.”

The review seeks to assure the Board, the Department of Health and Human Services and Safer Care Victoria that the service is operating in line with the appropriate quality and safety standards.

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