COMMUNITY CONSULTATION: DDHHS Chief Executive Dr Peter Gillies addresses the community at a meeting held at the Chinchilla Cultural Centre last month.
COMMUNITY CONSULTATION: DDHHS Chief Executive Dr Peter Gillies addresses the community at a meeting held at the Chinchilla Cultural Centre last month. Brooke Duncan

Maternity plan for hospital

AN INTERIM solution to regaining birthing services at the Chinchilla Hospital is in the works, with the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service working to establish a four-day-a-week option.

Member for Callide Colin Boyce said he met with Darling Downs Hospital and Health Board chair Mike Horan and members of the regional health board about the issue last week where he learned of the plan to have a Monday-Thursday service.

"That's particularly got to do with utilising the qualified staff that they have now, they can't keep it open for the other three days of the week, Friday, Saturday and Sunday because there is a shortfall of qualified people,” Mr Boyce said.

"The reality of it is is that there's just simply not enough people to have on full-time standby to have the facility open seven days a week at this point in time, having said that they are working very hard to try and attract suitably qualified people, theatre nurses and midwives to come to Chinchilla and have this facility kept open on a full time basis.”

Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Dr Peter Gillies confirmed the service is attempting to establish an interim Monday to Thursday service, which, pending recruitment, would include midwifery led ante-natal and post-natal consultations, midwifery led delivery for selected low-risk patients (deliveries greater than 37 weeks), and GP Obstetrician/GP Anaesthetist available for elective/emergency caesarean sections and induction of labour.

"By starting with this interim solution, it will make it easier to recruit to a sustainable seven-day maternity service,” he said.

The hospital will remain on bypass to Dalby from Friday to Sunday.

Mr Boyce said he understood several of Chinchilla's private doctors have "agreed to be on standby to keep the facilities open.”

"At this point in time there just simply isn't enough people, so while it is a step in the right direction, having it open four days a week, it's not exactly what we want, what we want is a full time service there, and that's what we will be working towards,” he said.

Mr Boyce said he plans to meet with Theodore doctor Bruce Chater to discuss his thoughts on dealing with the realities of regional and rural health, for further ideas on how to address the issue.


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