DDHHS Chief Executive Dr Peter Gillies addresses the community at  a meeting held at the Chinchilla Cultural Centre on Monday evening to discuss the lack of birthing services at Chinchilla Hospital.
DDHHS Chief Executive Dr Peter Gillies addresses the community at a meeting held at the Chinchilla Cultural Centre on Monday evening to discuss the lack of birthing services at Chinchilla Hospital. Brooke Duncan

Birth-service fears raised at meeting

CHINCHILLA community members have voiced their concerns over the lack of birthing services at the Chinchilla Hospital.

About 60 people attended a meeting on Monday night hosted by the Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service with doctors, mothers and other residents voicing their concerns about the bypass which has been in force since December.

DDHHS representatives said the major issue was a lack of staff, compounded by difficulties in recruitment.

Residents provided numerous suggestions to remedy the problem, including better incentives to work in regional areas and a rotation system with staff in Dalby and Toowoomba.

The DDHHS suggested reinstating birthing services during the week but remaining on bypass on weekends with chief executive Peter Gillies saying the service would look to devise a strategy in the next four to six weeks.

"We'll take all the feedback on board and give it more thought and come up with what we hope will be an acceptable way forward," he said.

Chinchilla doctor Ken Gilmour said he acknowl- edged recruitment problems, but emphasised the importance of maintain- ing efforts to solve a problem "faced by every rural community around Queensland".

"We need a maternity and birthing service to return to town in some form at least, even if it is only five days a week, that is not ideal but I think as a stepping stone that is important because if we don't have that then we're trying to get people to come to a non-existent service and that is impossible to recruit," Dr Gilmour said.

"So I think that question around five days a week, although everybody is not happy with that and I understand that, but I think unless we embrace that, just at the moment, I think we're doomed to have no service at all."

Callide MP Colin Boyce said he raised the issue with the Health Minister.

"I have been speaking with several of the doctors from Chinchilla and we have penned a question on notice which I'll put to the Health Minister at the next sitting of Parliament which is next week and in particular that question will be specifically directed at the birthing facility and the health facilities at the Chinchilla Hospital," he said.


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