A PETITION for the urgent resumption of birthing services at Castlemaine Health has received more than 1000 signatures in three days.
It comes a week after the health service "temporarily paused" birthing, citing a review of its policies, procedures and processes.
Castlemaine Health expects birthing services to resume on July 1, following a six-week review.
Support Birthing at Castlemaine Health spokesperson Arabella Davison said at least nine women had been due to give birth at the health service before then.
Those women were being referred elsewhere.
"We as a community group will join the doctors and the midwives in doing everything we can to support and cooperate with the review because we do want the best service for our women [and] for our community," Ms Davison said.
"But we are not interested in saying, 'These nine women don't matter.' They matter a lot."
She said the community was calling on Castlemaine Health to lift the suspension of services while the review was still underway.
"We are asking them, within at least the first week, to restore the services," Ms Davison said.
Castlemaine Health provides a low-risk Level 2 birthing service, which Ms Davison said was important not just to families in Castlemaine but throughout the region.
The health service has maintained there are no plans to close its birthing service, stating earlier this week that Castlemaine Health, Safer Care Victoria and the Department of Health and Human Services were fully committed to its retention.
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards last week said she was personally committed to ensuring maternity services at Castlemaine Health continued.
"That's very reassuring, but we as a community recognise that, in order for a small hospital to maintain a viable service, we actually do need to be proactive and we do need to be investing to make sure that we have a future for birthing women in Castlemaine," Ms Davison said.
She said about 700 of the 1000 petition responses were written accounts of how much the service meant to the community.
"There are stories in here of three generations of women birthing," Ms Davison said.
Women who had given birth at the service five times were among the respondents.
Copies of the petition were delivered to Member for Bendigo West, Maree Edwards, today.
Other recipients included the Castlemaine Health board, CEO, and director of medical services; the Bendigo Health CEO and board; Safer Care Victoria, and the Victorian health minister.
The petition remains open online via the Support Birthing at Castlemaine Health Facebook page.
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