Beaudesert Hospital is gearing up for an expansion of its valued maternity services in what is being celebrated as a win for local mothers.
It comes in stark contrast to the rural birthing crisis gripping central Queensland.
The Beaudesert Hospital unit, which reopened in 2014 after a hard-fought community battle, is considered the envy of rural communities across the state.
Through the expansion of Beaudesert’s Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) in early 2023, up to 80 additional women birthing at Beaudesert will be cared for by a known midwife.
MGP is internationally recognised as a best-practice model for improved health outcomes for mums and babies, providing individual care between one midwife and mum during pregnancy, labour and birth and follow-up home visits.
Under the expansion, all midwives will retain their jobs at Beaudesert Hospital. Two full-time equivalent positions from the team midwifery group will transition to Midwifery Group Practice, with allocation of women to these midwives for care.
In response to an enquiry from the Beaudesert Bulletin, a spokesperson for Metro South Health said the MGP expansion would not impact women’s access to doctors when birthing at Beaudesert Hospital. They said the hospital was still equipped with 24/7 on-site midwives to cater to women who presented in labour but were not part of MGP.
Rural Doctors Association of Queensland President Dr Matt Masel said the expansion sounded positive as part of a collaborative approach with GPs and rural generalists.
“There’s pressure on pretty much every rural and regional birthing service at the moment so it is important to ensure changes occurring in places like Beaudesert – which is a really functional and important birthing service – are changes the community needs,” he said.
“I think it can be classified as good news – it shows a maternity service that is evolving and looking to improve services and is focused on providing a collaborative model for women and their families, between midwives and doctors at various levels.”
Long-time local birthing services advocate Dr Michael Rice said Beaudesert’s birthing and procedural services were a model for the nation.
“I’m grateful to Metro South Health for putting the effort in to re-establish those services and indeed probably being the first in Queensland and Australia to do that after a significant period of closure,” he said.
“It’s important, considering the trouble Central Queensland is in at the moment, Metro South keeps their eye on the ball and takes proactive steps to make sure birthing and procedural services continue to be available for our community.”