A MEETING on Monday is expected to provide clarity on birthing services at Castlemaine Health, following their suspension at the weekend.
Castlemaine Health yesterday confirmed it had "temporarily paused birthing" services to review its policies, procedures and processes.
The confirmation came after community members started to mobilise support to retain birthing services in Castlemaine.
Castlemaine Health said the review was to ensure its policies, procedures and processes "align to the requirements of a low-risk Level 2 birthing service."
"We will be working with our own midwives and GP Obstetricians, and with Bendigo Health and Safer Care Victoria to complete that review," the health service said in a statement.
It is not known what triggered the review.
"Castlemaine Health and the Department of Health and Human Services remain committed to continuing our birthing services locally," the statement said.
"The service is an important part of Castlemaine Health's history and is highly valued by the community."
Castlemaine Health's birthing services have been temporarily diverted to Bendigo Health.
Three patients were due to give birth at Castlemaine Health this month.
Those patients are believed to have been contacted and provided referral details.
"We understand local families want to have their babies as close to home as possible and we're working closely with both Castlemaine Health and Safer Care Victoria to ensure they can continue to provide a sustainable and safe local maternity service," a Department of Health and Human Services spokesperson said.
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Support Birthing at Castlemaine Health spokesperson Arabella Davison said the community was hopeful the situation was temporary and whatever issues had been raised could be quickly addressed, and birthing services resumed.
"As a community we want to support Castlemaine Health, the midwives and doctors to ensure this precious service is guaranteed for the future," Ms Davison said.
She highlighted the importance of continuity of care and close proximity to home and supports for mothers, their babies and their families.
"Many women feel safer coming to our small hospital, birthing with midwives and doctors they have established long term relationships with, and being closer to home," Ms Davison said.
Support Birthing at Castlemaine Health was shocked the decision had been made "without warning" and sad for the affected women.
"Our community is growing, so ensuring access to a local public birthing service is as important as ever," Ms Davison said.
Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards said she was very aware of how much the community supported birthing at Castlemaine Health, "given the number of people who have contacted me".
Her understanding was also shaped by having chaired the parliamentary inquiry into peri-natal services.
"I understand local families want to have their babies as close to home as possible," Ms Edwards said.
"I immediately raised this matter with the Minister for Health and can confirm that the Victorian Government remains committed to ensuring women get the best care they can, close to home."
She said she was personally committed to ensuring maternity services at Castlemaine Health continued.
"I will continue working with Castlemaine Health, the department and the minister to ensure a sustainable and safe maternity service for the Castlemaine community," Ms Edwards said.
Her expectation was that the review would be completed by the end of the month.
"This isn't going to be a long-term situation," Ms Edwards said.