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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 5 Hansard (10 May) . . Page.. 1571 ..


MS FITZHARRIS: It is the advice to me, and also I believe referenced in the open letter, although I do not have that immediately in front of me, that that is not the case.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, are you denying that women are discharged early, that babies are having feeding problems and that women discharged early are having pain management problems? Despite what has been said publicly, are you denying that that is the case and are you denying that there are inadequacies in the amount of breastfeeding support provided to new mothers?

MS FITZHARRIS: No, I am not denying that. What I am saying is that there has been extensive feedback from the staff and the leadership at Centenary hospital and the doctors at Centenary hospital. It is certainly the case that there may be a number of women having breastfeeding difficulties. I have experienced it myself. It may in fact go on for a number of weeks.

It is the advice to me that women are only discharged when it is clinically safe to do so, and that the medical service which provides midwifery and nursing care to women upon discharge is being offered. That may be a daily visit for a number of days or a weekly visit for a number of weeks, when that mother and her baby will then also receive follow-up care from the maternal and child health services, from ACT Health as well.

There are a range of supports for women when they are discharged from Centenary hospital. The clear advice to me from Centenary hospital is that women are only discharged when it is clinically safe to do so. There is a Midcall service available which may follow up and visit women daily or every couple of days for a period after their discharge and also services provided through maternal and child health.

It is also the advice to me that, with respect to the number of readmissions across the board, we are not seeing any increase, but I do not have those precise figures in front of me right now.

Centenary Hospital for Women and Children—complaints

MR WALL: To continue on a theme, my question is to the Minister for Health and Wellbeing. Minister, I refer to reports in the media on 4 May 2018 about mothers at the Centenary hospital facing problems with delays in being admitted for inductions or receiving epidurals, overcrowding, lack of communication with staff, and poor management and morale. One mother said, "With my labour it's like trying to fit a triangle into a circle, they applied the guideline to me and my daughter nearly died." Why are many expectant mothers giving birth at the hospital facing delays in being admitted for an induction or receiving epidurals?

MS FITZHARRIS: I certainly noted some of the experiences of some women reported in the Canberra Times this week. I was, of course, concerned to read of their experiences. I also know that every woman's experience in labour is different. I repeat again, as has been said publicly by doctors and senior staff at Centenary hospital, that decisions are clinically sound. Decisions will only be based on clinically sound decision-making and they provide a safe and high quality service.


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