The Western NSW Local Health District (WNSWLHD) is currently looking at options for the delivery of maternity services at the Lachlan Health Service.
Expressions of interest were called for in local newspapers and social media, inviting parents who have recently used, or expect to use, maternity services in Parkes and Forbes to participate in focus groups.
The broader community is also being invited to have their say through a survey that can be done online or submitted by mail or email.
Parkes and Forbes combined currently have less than 250 births occurring each year. In spite of repeated attempts to recruit doctors with training in obstetrics and anaesthetics – both of which are required to offer a full medical maternity service – vacancies have led to births currently only being available at Forbes hospital.
While these recruitment issues persist, the WNSWLHD is encouraging the community to consider other models which could continue to see births occurring at both facilities, potentially with one hospital accepting low-risk births that could be performed under the supervision of a trained midwife.
Several options are outlined in the community consultation survey, with the community invited to consider the current circumstances and have their say on these models of service.
The WNSWLHD Board is due to consider plans for Lachlan maternity services, including the feedback provided by the community and consumers, before the end of 2019.
The online survey can be found at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/lachlanmaternity and a printable version can be downloaded here and then emailed, posted or hand delivered as instructed.
Consultation will close at 5pm on Friday 23 August, 2019.