Birthing to return to Parkes Hospital in March 2021

RETURNING SOON: Birthing is expected to return to the Parkes Hospital by March 2021. Photo: File
RETURNING SOON: Birthing is expected to return to the Parkes Hospital by March 2021. Photo: File

Parkes mums will continue to birth at Forbes for a little longer, based on an update from the Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD).

After 16 long months for expecting mothers, WNSWLHD is hoping to launch its Midwifery Group Practice next month with birthing to return to the town by March 2021.

A WNSWLHD spokesperson said following an extensive service development project they anticipate the Midwifery Group Practice will be launched in mid-November, commencing the care of women less than 20 weeks pregnant.

"This will see women electing to birth at Parkes being able to do so from March 2021," the spokesperson said.

The Parkes maternity unit was closed in early June 2019 because of a shortage of obstetricians, forcing Parkes Shire mums to travel to Forbes to give birth.

In May this year Lachlan Health Services Manager Liz Mitchell was hopeful the new midwife-led birthing model would be up and running at both Parkes and Forbes hospitals by the end of August and no later than the end of 2020.

In addition to the Midwifery Group Practice, a new model of Maternity Antenatal and Postnatal program will be made available for all women who wish to have shared care with a midwife and a GP obstetrician or specialist obstetrician.

"Recruitment of midwives for the Maternity Antenatal/Postnatal and Midwifery Group Practice models has been successful and will be supported by a GP obstetrician staff specialist," WNSWLHD spokesperson said.

"Recruitment took a little longer than expected, however we now have completed recruitment to the full team of midwives for Lachlan.

"Many of these midwives are already well known to the Parkes and Forbes community.

"[We're] booking newly pregnant women into a central intake service as of mid-November.

"We plan to welcome the first baby at Parkes in March 2021."

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