Drs reject 'scoop and run' strategy at Chinchilla Hospital
QUEENSLAND'S peak rural doctors' organisation has rejected plans for a "scoop and run” maternity service model for Chinchilla, instead demanding a transparent plan that includes both doctors and midwives.
Rural Doctors Association of Queensland president DrNeil Beaton voiced his alarm at the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service model advocating a "scoop and run” retrieval strategy, where women in labour would be transported from Chinchilla to Dalby when experiencing complications.
"Experience has shown that having fully-staffed local operating capability to manage emergencies in labour is a key minimal requirement to reduce the risk of harm or death,” DrBeaton said.
He said maternity care with doctors, nurses and midwives working together was the best approach and he could "not accept the proposal to commence birthing at Chinchilla without anaesthetics and surgical services”.
Association delegates DrMichael Rice and executive officer Marg Moss visited Chinchilla Hospital for a fact-finding meeting with DDHHS and local staff, afterwards writing to Queensland Health Minister Steven Miles with recommendations.
The association has been offered meetings with the health minister and DDHHS management.
DDHHS chief executive DrPeter Gillies said the service talked with midwifery and medical stakeholders during the consultation phase for developing the collaborative model of care.
"We received feedback from mums in the community, who have told us they want to have a group practice of known midwives with collaborative support from a multi-disciplinary team including medical staff,” he said.
"Darling Downs Health is committed to keeping the lines of communication open with the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland.
"Some of our senior management team members are meeting with RDAQ representatives this week.
"Recruitment is still actively under way for midwife positions.”
Meanwhile, Dr Beaton said innovative solutions should be considered to attract and retain rural generalist procedural doctors, midwives and nurses.
He cited the success of Beaudesert Health Service, which this week marked the five-year anniversary since the restoration of its birthing and procedural services.
"It is the most successful model for safe and sustainable rural and remote maternity services,” he said.
But a Queensland Health representative said the hospitals were very different.
"There are many different factors that contribute to (Beaudesert's) success, including a significantly high number of births.
"Beaudesert Hospital is also fortunate to be close to urban areas so they do not have the same workforce sustainability challenges that are experienced in towns like Chinchilla.”