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PRESS RELEASE: Thurs 15 July
Gold Coast Birth Centre shut without notice – women rally
The closure of the Gold Coast Birth Centre this afternoon at 5pm without consultation or explanation has left Queensland women outraged and preparing to rally. Hundreds of women will be left without their expected birth care as a result of a completely unexplained closure.
Rebecca Jenkinson, mother of two and President of Maternity Coalition Queensland branch said that women will be travelling from all over the South East to protest. “There have been rumblings for months about hostile attitudes from the Gold Coast Hospital management. Now this closure has occurred today without consultation or proper process.”
The best quality evidence shows birth centre midwifery care to be at least as safe as standard birth care. “Transfers to medical care are a normal and safe part of birth centre care and adverse outcomes occur in all models from time to time. But these women are in a birth centre metres away from a regular birth unit – on the same floor even. This closure is an attack on women’s choices.”
“At a time when both the Federal and State Governments are looking to expand midwifery choices for pregnant and birthing women it seems that Gold Coast Hospital are out of step with what’s happening across Queensland and Australia. In fact, the state government is planning to open another Birth Centre in Toowoomba by the end of this year because this model of care is so popular with families.”
Maternity Coalition were involved in the lobbying which led to the election commitment to establish a Birth Centre at the Gold Coast Hospital. “Five years on, the Government should be moving to expand this model of care, and give all women access to continuity of carer from a known midwife” Ms Jenkinson said. “We call upon the Minister for Health to act urgently to protect women’s access to this kind of care – a model of care that has repeatedly been shown to be safe and is in great demand from women” Ms Jenkinson added
Women are gathering from 11am at Little High Street, Southport with their babies to demand that the Birth Centre be immediately reopened.
For more information contact Maternity Coalition Qld Media Spokesperson: Joanne Smethurst, 07 3256 8127.