Page 3040 - Week 08 - Thursday, 16 August 2018

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I want to take this opportunity to reassure Canberra families that maternity and birthing services provided at both Calvary and Centenary hospitals are safe and that we have excellent modern health facilities. We also have a range of strategies to help deal with high demand, to ensure that mothers and their babies are cared for appropriately.

For example, we can use available beds from the birth centre and paediatric ward for postnatal care. And through the last budget we are increasing the number of beds available across the territory by 27 per cent. We are continuously recruiting more nurses and midwives, with the graduate midwifery program recruiting 15 new staff in 2018, a 50 per cent increase since the previous year. We can also extend the hours of the maternity assessment unit, roster additional medical and midwifery staff and introduce assistants in midwifery to maternity services. We actively encourage the community and GPs to utilise Calvary or Queanbeyan hospitals where appropriate for patients.

ACT Health have also been working closely with Calvary Public Hospital, given that it plays a major role in managing maternity demand through its excellent maternity and birthing services. Having more than one hospital in our city providing these services helps to manage demand and share resources across the community. For example, Calvary can support patients with low-risk elective procedures such as caesarean sections.

Longer term, Calvary will have additional capacity this financial year to expand their birthing capacity to 2,000 births per year. I really believe Calvary will become a much more attractive option for new mums, following the opening of the newly refurbished maternity ward at Calvary Public Hospital late last month. I had the pleasure of opening this beautiful ward, which has been expanded by three beds. But more importantly, it has been totally refreshed, with big, bright single rooms and large double rooms offering families a better, more modern experience.

Ensuring that women have comfortable, modern and accessible maternity and birthing facilities is critical to encouraging more women to choose Calvary and feel good about birthing there. The $2.6 million refurbishment funded by the ACT government really has created a new atmosphere, with an intimate patient and family lounge and a spacious baby assessment room. The aesthetics of the patient and public areas are colourful and contemporary, and I am extremely confident that women and families will be delighted by the new facility, just like Jessica and David and their newborn son, Marcus, were when I visited last month.

But it is not just families who love the new ward; the staff at Calvary are over the moon with the new space, which gives them much more room, better facilities and a much more pleasant place to work in. We know the staff at Calvary are just as amazing as the staff at Centenary, and now they have a ward to work in which is just as good as well. I want to again encourage mums, particularly from the north side, who are expecting a little one soon to visit Calvary’s new maternity ward and consider their options. For many north side mums it will be an extremely convenient and easy option to choose.

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