The LNP has unveiled a plan to restore local maternity services for Chinchilla and Theodore hospitals if elected on 31 October.
As part of a major investment in better health services across Queensland, the LNP will trial on-demand birthing services with a new dedicated local team.
Services at Chinchilla haven’t been offered to local mums for more than two years after they were closed down by the Palaszczuk Labor Government.
LNP Leader said Deb Frecklington said it was important regional families were offered the chance to have better local health services in their community.
“I was born in a regional hospital and I understand how crucial maternity services are to families,” Ms Frecklington said.
“Providing better regional health services closer to home is not only good for local families but encourages more people to live in rural and regional Queensland.
“The LNP’s plan will offer local birthing services to low-risk pregnancies that can be safely undertaken at the Chinchilla and Theodore Hospitals.
“It will help local mums have their babies as close to home as they can.
“The Palaszczuk Labor Government’s record is shutting down maternity services in the bush.
“Since 2001, Labor has closed maternity services in 26 rural and regional communities.
“Now, Labor has no Budget and no economic plan for regional Queensland.
“Mums in the bush deserve the same healthcare as mums in Brisbane.
“Queenslanders should have access to a world-class public health system no matter where they live and that’s what an LNP Government will deliver.”
The LNP’s plan for Chinchilla and Theodore is based on a similar model that has operated out of Goondiwindi. It will be implemented through a co-ordinated clinical team by Darling Downs and Central Queensland Hospital and Health Services.
An LNP Government would appoint an on-demand service coordination team for Chinchilla and Theodore as an initial 12 month trial.
Hospital planning at a local level allows the clinical team (rural generalist and nurse/midwife) to scale up clinical resources when they know they have a scheduled birth.
The trial will involve a local team of additional registered nurses / midwives. It includes upskilling existing staff, a shared rural generalist and local incentives to recruit and retain staff.
It will cost $1.14 million for the first 12 months and utilise a midwifery continuity of care model. If successful, the program could be rolled out to restore other maternity services in regional places like Mossman as well.
LNP Shadow Minister for Health Ros Bates said Labor’s health priorities were all wrong.
“Labor’s priority has been on changing the names of hospitals rather than improving the services they provide to Queenslanders,” Ms Bates said.
“Other than a talkfest and a taskforce, Labor haven’t done a thing to boost regional maternity services.
“As a nurse, I know how important it is to have local maternity care in regional Queensland.
“Our announcement is about refocusing our public health system on patients and ensuring better health services are provided to all Queenslanders.
LNP MP for Callide Colin Boyce said the restoration of maternity services at Chinchilla and Theodore was important for local communities.
“The only way to restore regional health services is by getting rid of the Palaszczuk Labor Government,” Mr Boyce said.
“Labor have no idea how important maternity services are to regional families – it’s why they’ve cut them.
“We need to invest in regional health services otherwise families will leave town.
“It’s clear that only the LNP has an economic plan for regional Queensland.”