Failure by Labor to fix midwifery shortage impacting regional mums

The Opposition has expressed concern about the ongoing shortage of midwives in regional WA, following revelations about a lack of maternity services at Carnarvon Health Campus.

Opposition Leader Mia Davies said the admission of maternity staff shortfalls in Budget Estimates reinforced the failure by the McGowan Labor Government to address regional health needs.

“This Government has left WA’s health system under-funded and under-resourced, which has resulted in the staffing shortages we now see impacting new mums in regional WA,” Ms Davies said.

“Expectant mothers in Western Australia, regardless of where they are based, deserve access to a high level of maternity care and services within their community, close to friends and family.

“New parents should not have to travel to Perth to access an obstetrician, as it forces expectant mothers to travel when it may not be medically advisable.”

“It places an added financial burden associated with accommodation and travel expenses, at a time when cost-of-living pressures are biting the back pockets of many West Australian families.”

Shadow Regional Health Minister Martin Aldridge said the McGowan Labor Government had dragged its heels when it came to increasing the number of midwives in the State.

“Geraldton University Centre has previously put programs to the State Government to train midwives in the regions and help address these issues, only for the proposal to fall on deaf ears,” Mr Aldridge said.

“The Minister revealed today that the Government is now revisiting the proposal which is welcome news, but could’ve done this far earlier to help address shortages.

“Ensuring our regional communities have fair and equitable access to quality healthcare services should not be too much to ask when you have an eye-watering $5.7 billion surplus.”

Member for North West Central Vincent Catania raised the issue with the Health Minister and called on the McGowan Labor Government to address the resourcing issue as a matter of urgency.

“This situation is placing unacceptable stress and anxiety, not only on the expectant mother but also their families,” Mr Catania said.

“Staffing shortages in Carnarvon are forcing expectant mothers to travel many hours to access medical care or to safely give birth to their children.

“I wrote to the Health Minister directly in April and raised it again during Budget Estimates this week to make sure the Minister appreciated the gravity of this issue to Carnarvon and surrounds.

“The safety and wellbeing of expectant mothers, their babies and families is paramount, and it is incumbent on the McGowan Labor Government to address these service gaps through their $5.7 billion surplus.”