Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Nursing Director of Family and Community Services Carol McMullen with consumer advocate Emily Dempster and her son. Image Supplied
More personalised care will soon be available to prospective mums, with the upcoming launch of a Midwifery Group Practice at Bundaberg Hospital.
The hospital’s maternity team has expanded to enable the new model of care to be introduced from April 29, allowing more women to be supported by the same midwife throughout their pregnancy, as well as labour, birth and for the first six weeks of their postnatal follow-up.
Acting Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Mark Bailey said it would provide the best possible care for mums and bubs.
“Queensland is one of the safest places in the world to give birth, no matter what part of the state you’re in,” Minister Bailey said.
“This new model means mums have the chance to meet with and become familiar with their midwife who will be there from the initial appointment, during birth, through to the early days of parenting.
“Queensland Government late last year announced an additional 100 new midwives to be posted across the state to boost midwifery services for Queensland women.”
Wide Bay Hospital and Health Service Chief Executive Adrian Pennington said the introduction of the Midwifery Group Practice model was partly in response to feedback from the community.
“Local mums have told us they wanted continuity of care in Bundaberg, and we’ve responded by introducing a Midwifery Group Practice that ensures they will have their own midwife who can be responsive to any issues they or their baby may have,” Mr Pennington said.
“This model of care will provide local women and families with the opportunity to build a relationship with a specific midwife during their pregnancy, continuing through the birth and post-birth care.
“Evidence shows that a woman who receives care from a known midwife is more likely to have a more positive experience of labour and birth, be more satisfied with her care, and successfully breastfeed.
“We already have a similar model on the Fraser Coast, which has proven to be a popular option for mothers in that area, and we’re confident it will be likewise in the Bundaberg region.”
WBHHS has employed six part-time midwives to run the Bundaberg Midwifery Group Practice, which will care for up to an estimated 180 women each year.
Bundaberg mum Emily Dempster – who was also a consumer representative on the steering group for the new service – said the establishment of the Midwifery Group Practice was welcome.
“The Bundaberg community and mothers are happy they’ll be able to receive what is considered the ‘gold standard’ of maternity care,” Mrs Dempster said.
“Being able to build a relationship with the person delivering your baby is so important and it is exciting that Bundaberg women will now be able to birth with a known midwife.
“We know a continuity of midwifery care has outstanding outcomes, with a higher rate of birth satisfaction and lower rates of complications for both mother and baby.”
WBHHS Nursing Director of Family and Community Services Carol McMullen said the Midwifery Group Practice team started in their positions this week so they could prepare for the launch.
“Part of the philosophy behind the model is to have appointments in a more relaxed, community-type setting, so the Midwifery Group Practice will be operating out of the Margaret Rose Centre, in Bourbong Street,” Ms McMullen said.
“Our midwives have come onboard this week to start setting the new service up, receive additional training, contact expectant mothers and complete other tasks that need to be done before we launch.
“This is a really exciting step for our whole midwifery team. Midwifery Group Practice models are considered best practice because they develop trusting relationships between mums and midwives, which makes it easier for the mother to raise their concerns or ask questions.
“It also helps midwives develop a better understanding of the health journey of individual mothers and recognise when there is a change or irregularity in the pregnancy that may require further attention.
“That said, this model of care isn’t suitable for every woman, so the general health and individual needs of women will be considered when accepting women into the service.”
Numbers in this model are limited, therefore early referral (8–10 weeks if possible) from your GP is recommended. A GP referral does not guarantee you a place in the MGP.
For more information, women should talk to their GPs, call the Bundaberg Family Unit on 4303 8410 or visit: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/widebay/maternity-care-options/midwifery-group-practice/