Demand grows for maternity services

BENDIGO Health's maternity service is being kept on its toes.

The hospital has seen a 16 per cent rise in births in the year to date compared with this time last year.

Executive director of nursing and surgical services Peter Faulkner said the increase highlighted the growth in and around Bendigo.

"We think it's a reflection of some of the movement of new families into Bendigo," he said.

"It's also about our capability, the state has a framework of capability for maternity services, and we've sort of gone up a level which means that we are birthing women at earlier due-date times than previously.

"So people who would have otherwise been referred to Melbourne are now being managed in Bendigo.

"Less people are being sent to Melbourne for their care; they're able to receive it here."

Mr Faulkner said less travel was good news for families.

"These are usually premature deliveries and so often the baby will need to go into special care, into our nursery here," he said.

"We desperately want the family to be near their baby - it's really, really important.

"So we think this is a really positive thing." 

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