SUPPORT for birthing from Castlemaine Health is vital into the future, advocates say, as they welcome the services' resumption after nearly a year.
Castlemaine Health has announced its birthing services will resume Monday, making its maternity services fully operational.
The move came nearly a year after its birthing services were first suspended, causing community outcry.
Castlemaine residents protested against the decision, with heavily pregnant women telling the health service they could not wait six months.
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- 'We can't wait six months' mothers tell Castlemaine Health | June 27, 2020
- Castlemaine Health board endorses maternity services report | July 1, 2020
- Castlemaine Health's maternity services 'well on the way to reopening' | September 25, 2020
- Midwives at the heart of new maternity services model | December 4, 2020
- Castlemaine Health maternity services set to resume | March 11, 2021
The Castlemaine Health birthing services will offer care at a level 2 maternity service level, for births from 37 to 42 weeks gestation.
Chief executive Sue Race said it was an exciting day for the community, acknowledging the hard work and dedication from staff in working to keep local maternity services.
Support Birthing at Castlemaine Health representative Arabella Davison said the group was "rapt" by the resumption, but wanted to see measures in place to make sure the service was strong into the future.
Ms Davison called for Castlemaine Health administrators to make sure maternity staff could work to their full scope of practice, because if they did not have job satisfaction, they would leave.
She said it was deeply powerful to have maternity services return to Castlemaine, as these were vital to the development and wellbeing of children and families.
Ms Davison said suspension of services had been "tragic" for Castlemaine women forced to give birth elsewhere during the past 12 months.
She called on the Castlemaine Health board to everything they could to make sure maternity services remained strong into the future.
"The concerning trend has been closures overall of regional birthing services across Australia over the past 20 years," Ms Davison said.
"We really want this to be a precedent for other communities to bring local birthing services back.
"This is best practices to have birthing services local, close to home, with continuity of care."
The health service "temporarily paused" its birthing services on May 16, 2020, citing a need to review policies, procedures and processes, to make sure they aligned to requirements of low-risk level 2 birthing services.
Birthing services were temporarily diverted to Bendigo Health.
The results of a report into the service, which has not been made public, caused services to be further suspended into June.
Castlemaine Health said the report results recommended a new model of maternity care be implemented, along with clinical and governance processes.
A GP obstetrician at the service said all maternity staff supported the move towards the new model, but did not believe there was a need to close the service while making the change.
The health service has so far declined to comment on what triggered the review.
Castlemaine Health revealed a new model of care for its maternity services in December, including two options for low-risk pregnancies: a midwife-led approach and one of collaborative shared care.
More complex cases were to be cared for at Bendigo Health or another higher-level service.
Pregnancy care services returned to Castlemaine Health in March.
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