LEETON shire women due to give birth at the town’s hospital have been forced to change their plans with obstetric medical cover “temporarily unavailable”.
The Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD) said the Leeton District Hospital’s birthing service would be temporarily relocated due to the unavailability of obstetric medical cover.
Women will be offered birthing services at either Griffith Base Hospital or Wagga Wagga Rural Referral Hospital during the interim period.
However, while MLHD has said it was only for the short-term, the decision has been met with anger.
Linking Communities Network chief executive officer Yvonne Wilson said there were more questions that needed answering.
She said the organisation had clients from Leeton that were pregnant.
“It’s a very poor decision,” Ms Wilson said.
“What if people don’t have a car or a licence?
“How will they get to hospital? Not everyone can afford an ambulance, so they would need to be covered for that too.
“It’s appalling really.”
All women booked for births at Leeton hospital are being advised of the arrangements.
The hospital has about 50 births per year.
MLHD director operations Brett Thompson said the Leeton hospital maternity unit would continue to provide prenatal and postnatal care.
“Women and their families will be able to return to Leeton hospital or be cared for in their homes by midwives after the birth of their babies,” he said.
Mr Thompson said MLHD apologised to women and their families for the inconvenience.
“We are committed to providing a safe and appropriate maternity service to families across the region,” he said.
Ms Wilson said that wasn’t good enough.
She said there were so many different possibilities that could happen when it comes time for a woman to give birth.
“What if there is an emergency?” she said.
“I’m sure these women have gotten used to their midwife and support network in Leeton and now they are having to change it all.
“It could also put pressure on these other hospitals.
“I used to work at the Leeton hospital nursing and it’s terrible to see how much it has been downgraded over the years.
“Hopefully like they say this is just temporary and it won’t be a fight to get it back.”