State member pledges continued support of Parkes Maternity Unit

WONDERFUL FACILITY: Member for Orange Phil Donato met Parkes couple Tom Ward and his pregnant wife Aimey at Ronald McDonald House in Orange. Photo: Supplied.

WONDERFUL FACILITY: Member for Orange Phil Donato met Parkes couple Tom Ward and his pregnant wife Aimey at Ronald McDonald House in Orange. Photo: Supplied.

Shock decision on Parkes Hospital

Parkes Hospital has a modern well equipped facility for mothers giving birth, so the news last week that the Western Local Health District is considering closing the maternity unit has come as a shock to the people of Parkes and Forbes.

I have spoken with residents of Parkes who are very concerned at this latest development, many of whom believe has come without sufficient community consultation.

In something of a 'trade-off', Parkes will now be the centre for surgical procedures for both Parkes and Forbes, while the women of Parkes will have to travel to Forbes for obstetric services.

While I have been assured by Executive Officer of WLHD Scott McLachlan a midwifery service will be maintained at Parkes, this decision doesn't sit well with many, despite the midwifery team at Parkes being a group of dedicated and passionate professionals working hard for their patients.

While I understand the financial restraints of maintaining specialist services in rural areas, this decision is another blow to the people of Parkes and district. We in the bush should not accept our health services being reduced.

I have been in talks with health management and community leaders over this decision which will impact the people of Parkes.

While community leaders in both Parkes and Forbes have been working hard with the health district over this decision, I want to assure my constituents I have been and will continue to be asking the tough questions of NSW Health and Government and continue negotiations for an outcome that is acceptable to the people of Parkes.

Wear Red on July 5

Since Ronald McDonald House in Orange opened its doors it has provided a free and welcoming accommodation service for more than 170 families from the Parkes and Forbes area, while they access specialist services at Orange hospital.

The majority of those families who stay at RMH Orange have a child or adolescent who has been admitted to the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit in the hospital which often requires a stay of weeks and sometimes months - but all free of charge.

Having this wonderful facility available helps ease the burden of trauma on families at a difficult time in their lives.

The second highest statistic interestingly, is mothers from this area who are experiencing a high risk pregnancy.

They are able to stay at the house in the days or weeks leading up to their due date.

When they return home to Parkes and district they are presented with a beautiful 'baby bundle' of clothes and knitted items for their new baby, compliments of the fantastic volunteers at RMH Orange.

So on July 5 I would encourage Parkes schools and businesses to get behind the "Wear Red" day to raise funds for the house in Orange.

All funds go directly to the provision of services for families at the Orange house - your donation stays local!

For more information contact Ronald McDonald House Orange on 6363 1960.

Help for Parents

As the father of five boys who have always loved their sport I understand the financial pressures it places on parents who want to see their school-aged children involved in healthy activities.

I would thoroughly recommend parents take advantage of the Two Active Kids voucher program, which provides $100 vouchers towards the cost of sporting and other physical activities.

For more information go to

Have a great week!