Gold Coast University Hospital’s maternity services will be boosted with the immediate establishment of four midwifery positions, following a meeting between hospital staff and Queensland’s health minister.
The hospital’s maternity program came under scrutiny earlier this month when a newborn baby died with staff reportedly expressing concern about staffing levels in the wake of the death.
Health Minister Cameron Dick says as well as the four new permanent positions, a staffing review will be undertaken at the hospital and at all public maternity units in the state.
Mr Dick said it had been made clear to him the system was “under pressure from increasing demand”.
“It is clear that maternity services have become more complex in recent years, with considerable growth in the number of births, as well as an increase in the number of expectant mothers presenting with a range of complex medical needs,” Mr Dick said.
A plan announced on Sunday will not only establish the four new permanent positions on the Gold Coast but includes a statewide review of midwifery staffing levels at all public maternity units in Queensland.
The Gold Coast Hospital and Health Service will also be required to report monthly on midwifery rosters during the period of the staffing review.
Gold Coast Health’s director of maternal-fetal medicine David Ellwood defended the hospital’s maternity service.
“Across key clinical indicators, both process and outcomes based, Gold Coast University Hospital performance stands out among its peers at a national level,” Professor Ellwood said.
Queensland Nurses Union secretary Beth Mohle welcomed the minister’s decisions.
“We welcome that as a first step to addressing the immediate problems but there’s going to be more that’s required,” Ms Mohle told AAP.
“That’s why the statewide review is very, very important to make sure all of the services have not only the staffing numbers but the appropriate skill mix to provide safe service.”