Group unhappy with closure of newborn services at Bentley Hospital

Group unhappy with closure of newborn services at Bentley Hospital

THE Health Consumers Council (HCC) has called on the State Government to consider the needs of mothers and children after an announcement Bentley Hospital would lose its newborn services next year.

Earlier this month, Health Minister Kim Hames confirmed that newborn services at Bentley Hospital would close next year after a report by Professor Con Michael identified safety concerns.

HCC is an independent not for profit organisation providing consumer input into health service planning, review and delivery.

Its executive director Pip Brennan said the political discourse surrounding the closure of the newborn services was yet to consider the needs of mothers and babies.

“There have been comments from politicians and health department staff about how the closure of Bentley Hospital fits in with maternity services planning… but there is an almost total silence on how it affects mothers and babies. Why are the actual users of the service so seemingly irrelevant to the decision?” she said.

Ms Brennan said recommendations in the report to consult the community did not happen and she was concerned for migrant women who use the service.

“(The report) recommended community consultation about the closure. This has not happened,” she said.

“Around 70 per cent of women that birth at Bentley Hospital are women from non-English speaking backgrounds. Where are their voices in this?”

Addressing the community last week, Dr Hames said there was no exact timeline for the closure, but confirmed it would be next year.

Ms Brennan said the HCC had established an online survey for the community to access and have their say on the issue.

“This report, dated May 2015, has been released after months of inaction,” she said.

“What a wasted opportunity to work with the community and staff to crate the right mix of maternity services that we can safely manage.

“HCC has developed a short online survey for the community to have their say.”

Ms Brennan urged residents and past and present patients of the hospital to have their say on its future.

To view and complete the HCC Bentley Hospital Maternity Service survey go here