Manly Daily, 14 Dec 10 @ 03:51pm by Brenton Cherry
THE area health service has shelved the launch of its controversial, stand-alone, midwife birthing unit at Mona Vale Hospital until the State Election.
And it leaves the north of the peninsula without any form of maternity service for at least three more months.
The proposed midwifery group practice was due to open by the end of the year, but this has now been put back to March.
According to the health service, the delay would allow for the completion of a thorough risk assessment of the model of care.
Mona Vale has been without a maternity ward since last July, when it was moved to Manly after the discovery of asbestos in the hospital.
The health service has since reneged on a promise to return it in full.
Instead, it has proposed a midwife-managed birthing unit, with no onsite emergency assistance from obstetricians, meaning mothers suffering a birth complication will have to be transferred by ambulance to Manly Hospital.
Pittwater State Liberal MP Rob Stokes said the delay of the return of maternity, even in the form of the unpopular birthing unit, was an example of another broken promise to local mums.
“We were originally promised that that full maternity would be restored to Mona Vale,” he said.
“Then they told us we would only be getting a stand-alone midwife unit by the end of the year, but that has been broken as well.
“The Minister, Carmel Tebbutt, needs to step in and end this farce because, at the moment, it’s almost as if she wants to leave it to someone else to fix.”
But Northern Sydney Central Coast Health’s clinical director, women’s network, Dr Michael Nicholl, said the delay was to ensure a rigorous and proper assessment.
“While new models of care bring exciting new opportunities, each new model of care needs to be assessed on its own merits,” he said.
Dr Nicholl said the assessment had been deferred until after the October launch of Manly Hospital’s midwife-led unit so that the experiences of staff and patients could be considered.
In the Shaping Our Future strategy SHOROC calls on the Government to build the new Northern Beaches Hospital and retain Mona Vale Hospital. Find our more about the Shaping Our Future strategy.
Another group of Northern Beaches locals who are also determined to see Mona Vale Hospital retained is PUSH. PUSH stands for Peninsula United to Secure Hospital. They are apolitical and made up from stakeholders from all areas of the community, clinicians, business people, politicians and community groups. They’ve set up a petition with a goal to get at least 10,000 signatures which can be signed here.