The hospital was slated for closure this year after a 2015 review of maternity services in WA by Professor Con Michael recommended the discontinuation of maternity services.
Minister Kim Hames confirmed the hospital– which delivered 1060 babies last year– would remain open until mid-2018 pending the development of a maternity services implementation plan.
The joint committee of key Fiona Stanley Hospital and Bentley Health Service staff and consumers was formed in late 2015 to The Maternity Service Transition Control Group is finalising the implementation plan, which includes consultation with relevant stakeholders.
“The State Government has made the decision that maternity services at Bentley will remain available subject to ongoing operational and cost-efficiency reviews and in mid-2018, we will again review the model,” Dr Hames said.
Health Consumers Council executive director Pip Brennan said people power was responsible for the continuation of services. “We thank all the community members who filled in our survey, who signed the Maternity Choices WA petition and got in touch with their local politician,” she said.
“We hope that families can be kept at the centre of future maternity services planning for the area.”
Ms Brennan said the hospital’s standing as a low-risk hospital was preferential for the 80 per cent of non-English speaking women who birthed there last year. “Lower risk hospitals are what a lot of women prefer,” she said.
The sentiment was echoed by Dr Hames.
“I understand from talking to staff and patients at the hospital, that it is strongly patronised and favoured by the local community, with the bulk of births supported by general practice obstetricians and experienced midwives,” he said.
Ms Brennan said she hoped to see a midwifery group practice (MGP) implemented at the hospital that allowed women and families having a baby to be cared for by a known midwife throughout their pregnancy.