Longreach Hospital is seeking feedback from Central West mothers on the hospital’s maternity services.

A survey of women who had their babies while living in the Central West between 2014 and 2018 is about to enter its final week.

Longreach Hospital Senior Medical Officer Dr Kirsty Symmons said the results of the survey would be used to help plan future service delivery.

“With the completion of the new maternity unit last year as part of the $14.5 million redevelopment of Longreach Hospital, we thought this would be an appropriate time to seek feedback on our maternity services,’’ Dr Symmons said.

As part of the redevelopment, the maternity unit was relocated from the ground floor to the first floor and offers three single ensuite rooms, a birth suite, a maternity assessment room, a nursery and an equipment room.

“We have had very positive feedback from women and families in the new unit,’’ Dr Symmons said.

“On average, around 60 babies a year are born at Longreach Hospital, but it looks like we are going to have 70-80 births this year. ‘’

The Longreach Hospital unit operates as a Midwifery Group Practice, where each woman is assigned a known midwife who will provide most of her care pre, during and post-birth.

For a woman who lives out of Longreach, her midwife will liaise with the local midwife if there is one in her town.

Women also have the options of shared care with their regular GP or private care with a GP obstetrician in Longreach.

Dr Symmons said the maternity unit had a permanent midwifery staff of seven that was supported by allied health professionals and General Practitioners with specialist training in obstetrics.

“For women who have complications in their pregnancy, the Longreach maternity team has close contact with maternal foetal medicine, obstetric medicine and perinatal mental health teams at several tertiary hospitals,’’ she said.

“We help coordinate reviews with these teams, often by telehealth. Many of these women go on to deliver in Longreach.

“All in all, we have an excellent maternity service for the Central West here at Longreach.

“We are keen to get as much feedback as possible from women about what they like about our services and what we could do better in the future.

“But as well as hearing from women who have received pregnancy care and birthed here in Longreach, we also want to hear from women who have travelled elsewhere for care or to give birth.

“Not all women may be aware of the range of birthing and antenatal care options available through the Longreach Hospital maternity service.

“As a result, some women from the Central West who could birth here at Longreach may be choosing to give birth elsewhere despite the excellent facilities available right here, closer to home.

“We’d like to know about this so we can consider how we can raise greater awareness in the region about the range of maternity services we offer.’’

Dr Symmons said the patient experience survey was open until 12 May and would take about 10 minutes to complete.

“We encourage as many women as possible to take this opportunity to have their say before the survey closes,’’ she said.

ENDS