The Forbes and Parkes community is called on to rise up today for a rally at the Parkes Hospital at 12:30pm to stop the downgrading of maternity services. The Parkes Hospital has been in the news all week after a decision to temporarily close the maternity service due to an alleged shortage of medical proceduralists.
Residents can also sign a petition of the NSW Nurses and Midwives Union at the rally and at local businesses to get to 10,000 signatures to present it to Parliament.
Parkes Shire Mayor, Councillor Ken Keith OAM also expressed alarm and frustration over the decision and said: “It is exasperating that the situation has reached a crisis point. This dilemma has long been foreseen, as our long serving proceduralist neared retirement and should have been proactively planned and managed by Western NSW Local Health District.”
Member for Orange Phil Donato reacted to ‘the genuine concern brewing in Parkes and Forbes’ on his Facebook page saying: “I want to reassure the communities of Forbes and Parkes that I will be working feverishly to get to the bottom of this.” On Tuesday he delivered a notice of motion in the Legislative Assembly that he would move the house to demand that the Government immediately restore maternity services and maintain level 3 birthing at the Parkes Hospital, and he would call on the Government to urgently source and locate obstetric and anaesthetic services to Parkes Hospital, and implement contingency and succession planning for future resignations or retirement of medical practitioners.
The Western NSW Local Health District released a statement saying there is a shortage of medical practitioners to support maternity services at both Parkes and Forbes. “The WNSWLHD is working hard to find ways to attract doctors to our communities. It is the intention to continue to provide birthing services at both Parkes and Forbes.
To maintain safe maternity services the right medical, nursing and midwifery staff need to be available; there must be sufficient numbers of births to maintain skills and experience.”
By Maggi Barnard and Beth Thomas