Leeton hospital obstetrics debacle

No one cuts corners when having a baby.

Quality facilities, no risks, close to home.

Leeton nurses, doctors and staff have done a brilliant job for decades, and continue today considering what they’re working with.

But until an obstetrics expert is appointed at the hospital, Leeton will be one of thousands of regional hospitals all over Australia becoming victim of big government centralisation.

The days of having a one-stop shop in a small country town disappeared decades ago.

The worrying part is even a city the size of Leeton can no longer be guaranteed appropriate birthing facilities for its residents.

And it’s not an issue rearing its head unexpectedly.

Regional hospitals, its auxiliaries and health bodies have been extremely vocal about the plights of their once great health facilities slowly being stripped away.

As is the case with most modern governments, a larger and centralised facility is preferred over several smaller hospitals.

Money is being allocated to the regional centre, and the most sought-after professionals set up camp in the largest hospitals.

It’s unfair to expect Leeton to have the rarest and highest paid medical experts permanently located at its hospital. 

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But do birthing experts fall into that category?

Leeton is still without an obstetrician after almost 18 months, and one has to wonder whether the position will ever be filled

The loudest voices on Leeton’s birthing facilities may have lost their largest ally too, in the Murrumbidgee Local Health District (MLHD).

The organisation fell short of confirming it is actively seeking an obstetrician for the hospital, when speaking to The Irrigator this week.

It means, at least on the surface, the MLHD is satisfied a hospital servicing over 10,000 people does not meet NSW Health requirements to provide birthing services.

This may be the new norm for regional hospitals, or there might be more to the Leeton obstetrics debacle than meets the eye.

Whatever the case, the MLHD needs to be upfront with the people of Leeton and confirm whether it wants a permanent birthing service for the city meeting NSW Health requirements.

ben.jones@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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