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Pregnant women turned away by maternity hospitals

Posted by: Ellen Feely | 23 October, 2012 - 7:52 AM
Tom Elliott says the baby bonus should have been scrapped on budget night. (Photo: Craig Sillitoe)

Pregnant women in Melbourne are being turned away by their local maternity hospitals because of a shortage of facilities in growth suburbs.

Last year, the Auditor-General reported more than 200 women had given birth in Sunshine Hospital’s emergency department because of a space shortage in the maternity unit.

Speaking with Ross and John, Health Services Commissioner Beth Wilson said better healthcare planning in the western and northern suburbs was needed.

”We know that there's a huge birthing growth in the western suburbs and the northern suburbs. (They're the) fastest growing regions in the world,” she said.

”We know that young couples are buying houses in the new suburbs. We need to make sure that we plan so that they can have accessible safe, health services.”

Ms Wilson said women were now being told if they wanted to secure a place at their preferred hospital, they would need to book by week six of their pregnancy.

But Ms Wilson said many women are unaware they are actually pregnant at that stage.

”It's pretty hard to actually know that you're pregnant at six weeks,” she said.

Victorian Minister for Health and Aging David Davis told Ross and John there was no doubt there had been significant growth in Melbourne's west, which the Baillieu government had catered for.

"There's no question that there's been a slowness over a number of years to put some services over there for people that  do need it," he said.

"Particularly in the budget this year, there was money for Intensive Care at Sunshine (Hospital), but also additional maternity capacity."

LISTEN: Health Services Commissioner Beth Wilson speaks with 3AW Breakfast:

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Blog comments Your Say

  • @caz, it was not my intention to denegrate any mother but it could explain the extreme influx in the birth rate, especially in the Northern and Western suburbs.

    GIW Tuesday 23 October, 2012 - 9:06 PM
  • Gee GIW and why would it matter what nationality,marital status, or religion was involved?
    Mothers are mothers who all have maternal feelings and would be devastated if they lost their babies due to lack of medical help/intervention.

    caz Tuesday 23 October, 2012 - 12:05 PM
  • It is sad that pregnant women are being told on a daily basis they cannot book at Werribee. Pregnant women cannot be put on a waiting list and funding for them should not have a "number of births" limit. Government needs to step in and fund the western suburbs appropriately.

    Joe Garra Tuesday 23 October, 2012 - 9:52 AM
  • Would like to know the % of women contributing to this baby boom that are either immigrants or single mothers.

    GIW Tuesday 23 October, 2012 - 9:47 AM
  • It doesn't surprise me that western and northern suburbs are experiencing fastest birth rates. Just take a look at the demographic there.
    I wonder what happens when a woman in labour turns up in one of those hospitals. Do they actually allow her to give bith in Emergency? How horrible. State government should've anticipated this problem long ago considering that certain ethnic groups do tend to have a lot more children than the rest of the society and most of them live in those suburbs.

    Peggy Tuesday 23 October, 2012 - 9:35 AM
  • This country is overpopulated the majority are unemployable on centrelink payments thats all they know and they are good at something or migrants that just stepped off the boat oh the sudanese are big breeders they just keep flooding in oh we need more hospitals duh.

    tammy Tuesday 23 October, 2012 - 9:29 AM

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