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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 3 Hansard (18 March) . . Page.. 1182..


ACT Health is also an active participant in two current national maternity services initiatives - development of (i) a National Maternity Services Plan and (ii) a Quality and Safety Framework for Independently Practicing Midwives and home birth services. The National Maternity Services Plan is an action of the Maternity Services Reform Package that was announced in the 2009-10 Federal Budget and aims to achieve national consistency of maternity services nationally. The timeframe is to have a plan ready for the Australian Health Ministers Conference by June 2010.

In respect to the 2007 Review into the Canberra Midwifery Program for ACT Health, a range of recommendations were made and subsequently implemented excluding those relating to Sections 9.7, 9.8 and 9.9 and Section 10 of the Review. The Government is considering the options for a home birthing service and associated insurance. A preferred option is yet to be agreed.

Hospitals—birthing centres

(Question No 544)

Ms Bresnan asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 11 February 2010:

(1) Is the new birthing centre at the Women's and Children's Hospital intended to be a permanent home for women choosing natural birthing processes; if so, why it is being designed so that it can be an interchangeable ward.

(2) With regard to the skeleton plans for the birthing centre that have now been signed off, what advice has the department and architects taken on from midwives and the friends of the birth centre and what suggestions have been discounted.

(3) What types of changes can and cannot be made to the design of the new birthing centre now that the skeleton plans have been signed off.

Ms Gallagher: I am advised that the answer to the member's question is as follows:

(1) The new birthing centre at the Women's and Children's Hospital is intended to be the permanent home for women choosing natural birthing processes.

The birthing centre is not being designed to be interchangeable wards. The current design is a response to the requirement to ensure each room has a window, and the need to comply with Building Code of Australia fire egress requirements. The Project architects are currently exploring alternative options to configure the Centre.

(2) The following suggestions from staff and the Friends of the Birth Centre (FBC) have been incorporated into the current design of the birth centre:

    • Separate entrance - direct access to the birth centre via main lift or main stairs;
    • An informal environment available for all services from ante-natal visits and education, birth, and postnatal recovery;
    • Space available for women to research and attend education classes;
    • Physical separateness from the medicalised birthing unit including sights, smells and sounds of a clinical hospital environment; and
    • An increased space to prepare food or rest while the woman is giving birth or recovering postnatally, and for children to play or rest under the supervision of family.


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