Expectant mothers in central Queensland say they’re living in fear over the maternity crisis that’s unfolding across the region.
Deputy Premier Steven Miles is intervening while the Premier is away, forcing Queensland Health to act.
Gladstone Hospital hasn’t had a fully functioning maternity service for more than six months but the health service will have a short reprieve with news of one temporary obstetrician.
“One locum allows us to bolster the services available in Gladstone,” Miles said.
Expectant mothers in the city of more than 60,000 people have been told Rockhampton Hospital 110 kilometres away is the closest alternative outside of planned cesareans at Gladstone on select days.
Jemma Manwaring from Save Gladstone Maternity Ward said the service is available on “Monday and Friday only”.
“If there’s an emergency, can we make note to babies to have these incidents on a Monday and Friday please,” she said.
Rockhampton only had one specialist obstetrician left over the Christmas break.
Miles intervened and requested the health department and its minister sit down for talks, with plans to source an additional four obstetricians by the middle of the year.
“We are not dealing with some rural outpost, we are dealing with a major regional city,” opposition leader David Crisafulli said.
Andrea Williams recently moved to Gladstone with her young family and is expecting another baby soon.
“The pressure, I was up all night,” Williams said.
“I couldn’t sleep, I woke up dreaming about it.”
The additional staff won’t be in place by the time her new bub arrives.
“It’s just unfathomable that it can be this sized town and not provide such a basic care to the women,” Williams said.
Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service won’t reveal the exact number of obstetricians currently working between the two hospitals.