Reopening of maternity service a step closer

Local mums May Pratt and Claire Nightingale are members of the Maternity Services Consumer Committee.
Local mums May Pratt and Claire Nightingale are members of the Maternity Services Consumer Committee.

Maternity services at Castlemaine Health are one step closer to re-opening with the framework for the new model of care on track to be in place by the beginning of October. 
The Castlemaine Health Maternity Services Operational Model of Care Working Group, who have been meeting since August 2020, now have a clear, overarching view of the service and are building in the details. 
The model of care defines how each element of the service will operate and maps out how consumers will access and experience the service as they move through antenatal, intrapartum and postnatal care.
Castlemaine Health CEO Ian Fisher said they are well on their way to re-opening the maternity service. 
“One of the things we’re especially pleased about is that consumers have had a real seat at the table where the decisions are being made,” Mr Fisher said. 
“Their voices are being heard and they are having a direct impact on the new service. We want to thank them for being part of this process.”
The Working Group has gathered feedback from the Maternity Services Consumer Committee, elected to represent the community, about what women value in maternity care. 
One of the elements deemed most highly valued was continuity of care, including during a transfer, so women are able to develop trusting relationships with the same caregivers throughout pregnancy, labour and birth, and into the early weeks of mothering. Communication, collaboration between members of the care team and feeling listened to also ranked high on the list.
May Pratt and Claire Nightingale are members of the Maternity Services Consumer Committee. They are also consumer representatives on the Maternity Services Operational Model of Care Working Group. 
A mother of four children, all born at Castlemaine Health, May describes herself as a local mum who wanted to make sure the wonderful service she experienced continued.
“I feel so lucky to have had my babies at Castlemaine Health,” May said. 
“Having a local maternity service is so important. When you have a baby you want to be as close to your community as possible,” she said.
“I’m delighted to see that everybody involved in the Working Group is on the same track and working to achieve the best possible outcomes for birthing women.”
Mum of two Claire works in public health research. Her working life has taken her to Papua New Guinea and then to Myanmar, where she received her antenatal care for both children.
“There’s a real diversity of experience on the Working Group and support for both the clinical and consumer point of view,” Claire said.
“Local people are invested in the maternity service at Castlemaine Health and it can be hard to move away from something that has existed for so long,” she said.
“But I have confidence the service will re-open in a way that is absolutely fantastic for women. Where they receive real continuity of care. Where they build relationships with their caregivers, birth close to their community and never feel like a number.”

Lisa Dennis
Editor of the Castlemaine Mail newspaper and senior journalist on our sister paper the Midland Express. Over the last 24 years Lisa been proudly reporting news in the Mount Alexander and Macedon Ranges communities.