Page 216 - Week 01 - Wednesday, 28 November 2012

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Women by their nature often do not want to be a burden. They are easily influenced into going home, sometimes even earlier than they should. We do not always put ourselves first and in the case of a woman who is used to being an expert at her work and having to run a home for many years, usually when she has her first baby it is a deep shock to the system to have to adapt to the hourly needs of a newborn baby through the day and through the night.

Honestly, the mathematical modelling of patient throughput is not a new science. How did the minister get it so wrong? As Mr Hanson has outlined in detail in his comments, there is a plethora of issues facing the facility and the minister’s handling of it. Perhaps the federal ALP’s cuts to obstetric rebates on 1 January 2010 caused this whole debacle, but I would have thought that a serious minister would have seen the rise in demand coming. The minister instead buried her head in the sand.

If the same amount of effort was put into the planning process by the minister as she seems to put into the development of her media opportunities, we may not be in the position we in are today. It is not just an academic pursuit or a partisan matter; it has real impacts on real women.

I can tell you that I met a number of midwives while I was out doorknocking thousands of homes for this year’s election who were very grumpy about the reduced capacity of the new facility as compared to the old one. They actually said to me that we have opened a new facility with fewer beds.

I am not claiming that there are fewer beds, although I believe that there are fewer birthing suites. Everyone wants to see new facilities for women but for goodness sake, if there are fewer rooms overall while public births are on the rise, and the new facility was supposed to deal with this matter, did the minister actually not know what was being built? How could it have possibly made sense to her?

I cannot fathom how a minister, who herself has gone through the birthing process no less than three times and who has a vast staff at her fingertips, did not pick up that the same or fewer beds was not going to provide more capacity than the old facility. I hope for the sake of the patients that corners are not being cut and that the minister can come up with a solution to this most serious of matters.

As the shadow minister for women in this place, I believe I speak for thousands of Canberra women who expect that this situation will be remedied as soon as possible.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (5.10): Our maternity services are a continuing issue of concern to members of the Assembly and many members of the public. I thank Mr Hanson for raising this issue today. All parents want to be assured that they are going to get the best and the safest maternity services possible when they put their lives and the lives of their babies into the hands of hospitals and professionals.

Mr Hanson has raised various issues which are of concern. These issues do not give parents-to-be the certainty and security that they need to have when going in to give birth, which can be a very stressful time in one’s life—as Mrs Jones has just touched

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