Better access to midwifery care as birth centre prepares to open in Weipa, Australia

on 18 January 2022

A midwifery-led maternity unit will be opened in Weipa, Australia, providing women with better access to maternity care.

The maternity unit, due to open later this year, already has recruited three new midwives, with a fourth to be recruited shortly.

Pregnant women will be assigned a midwife throughout their antenatal, birthing and postnatal care.

Health Minister, Yvette D’Ath, said: “This new service is great news for expectant local mums and the Weipa community. It will see pregnant women assigned a known midwife to support them throughout the antenatal, birthing and postnatal period of their pregnancy journey.”

“This is part of the Palaszcuk Government’s commitment to delivering quality maternity care, including in our First Nation communities.”

The maternity unit is also recruiting for an Advanced Indigenous Health Worker to join the practice this year, with another one to be recruited later in 2022.

“The midwifery staff are also supported by a clinical team of allied health professionals, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Workers and General Practitioners with specialist training in obstetrics,” Minister D’Ath said.

Completion of the construction of the maternity unit is due to be finished in July this year, with the first births to be expected in August.

The Weipa Midwifery Group Practice currently has around 70 pregnant women in their catchment area at various stages of their pregnancies. Around 60% of these have been identified as suitable to give birth at the Weipa Birthing Unit.

Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said: ““A low-risk birthing service allows women who do not have a complex medical and obstetric history and who do not experience a complex antenatal period to be cared for locally if they choose.

“Women with higher risk pregnancies will continue to travel to Cairns or another larger centre to give birth.

“Once fully operational, the birthing unit is expected to support up to 70 births a year and will service Cape communities including Weipa, Aurukun, Coen, Kowanyama, Lockhart River, Mapoon, Napranum and Pormpuraaw.’’

The birthing unit aims to provide better access to maternity care in the area, which will see women being able to give birth closer to home instead of travelling to Cairns to give birth, which is culturally important for First Nations women.

Source: Queensland Government