By Margaret Maccoll
Keli Nagai of Sunshine Beach hopes when her first baby is due in a couple of weeks she can make the journey in time to the coast’s only public hospital with maternity inpatient services at the Sunshine Coast University Hospital at Birtinya.
Keli said it took her 1hr10mins when she last visited. She’s hoping for a natural birth but like all mums has no idea how long her labour will last or how it will progress.
Keli has been very pro-active in ensuring she is as prepared as any new mother can be for the birth, having availed herself of the local prenatal services but cannot control the distance to hospital.
Maternity Consumer Network spokeswoman Alecia Staines is lobbying to bring birthing services closer.
Alecia said rural towns where births may number only 60 per year have birthing services but having a service more than 50 minutes away by car was too far and much further for people relying on public transport.
Nambour General Hospital closed its doors to maternity inpatient services in March 2017 when SCU’s new maternity facility opened to service the more than 2600 babies born annually on the Sunshine Coast.
Alecia said not having birth services was a deterrent to attracting young women to the area and a solution needed to be thought through carefully.
She has spoken to Noosa MP Sandy Bolton and has plans to meet Nicklin MP Martin Hunt and Health Minister Dr Steven Miles.
Ms Bolton said she was investigating the value and feasibility of sharing maternity services across the region and the possibility of reinstating services at Nambour.
She said a study that included the health service demands of the whole community over the next 20 years should be considered.