Delivering a top service
By LYNDAL GAWEN ? AT TIMES Rockhampton can feel like a remote community when it comes to accessibility to specialists, but when it comes to having babies the town is fully catered for.
This is one advantage that Rockhampton has over many rural communities throughout Australia.
While rural hospitals close their maternity wards and look for locums to relieve their stressed obstetricians, Rockhampton hospitals have a full quota of specialists. "We delivered 450 babies last year and we expect that to rise,'' Lynne Sheehan, executive officer of the Mater Misericordiae Hospital, said.
Last year the Mater hospital operated with one obstetrician, Dr Paul Khoo. They have since been able to fill the vacant position by bringing Dr Satish Prasad on board.
There were 1004 babies delivered at the Rockhampton Hospital last year by the two obstetricians employed by the hospital which has a fully staffed maternity department.
Vice-president of the Rural Doctors Association of Australia Dr Andrew Slutzkin voiced his concern about women travelling up to half an hour to deliver their children, saying they could be prone to complications.
While Mrs Sheehan said the Mater hospital has had women travel from as far as Emerald and Yeppoon to deliver their babies they have not experienced complications as a result.
Mrs Sheehan said she was aware of the shortages that other communities experience.