Armadale Hospital tightens security on maternity wards


Serpentine mum Lisa Kelly holding her yet-to-be-named baby girl at Armadale Hospital.
Serpentine mum Lisa Kelly holding her yet-to-be-named baby girl at Armadale Hospital.

ARMADALE Hospital has introduced new security measures at its maternity ward to give mothers much needed rest; free of worrying about their newborns’ safety.

It follows concerns over newborns being kidnapped from maternity wards, including what turned out to be a false incident on the Gold Coast in December 2016 where a mother took her newborn without being discharged, sparking a police search.

The hospital has put locked security doors on the maternity ward and a new visitor sign in place, bringing Armadale in line with other major Perth hospitals.

Visiting hours at Armadale have also been tightened.

Serpentine resident Lisa Kelly said the new buzz-in visitor system was a lot better, especially when the doors locked during rest time.

Mrs Kelly has given birth to all four of her children at Armadale and said the experience with her latest arrival, a baby girl, was much better.

“I’ve got three children at home so I know, I can plan to have that rest period from 1pm to 3pm.”

She said it had helped her bond with her new baby.

Clinical maternity manager Robyn Rigby said that the hours and days following labour were a crucial time for mums.

“We want to provide an environment where new parents can take the time to rest and bond with their baby and our new visiting hours are designed to help them do this,” she said.

Australian Medical Association National President Dr Michael Gannon has criticised hospitals around the nation for pushing mothers out the door too quickly after giving birth.

“”Not only have they had a long pregnancy and the ordeal of labour, but we are then sending them home to look after their baby,” Dr Gannon told the ABC (on January 4).

He accused hospitals of engaging in a “cost-saving exercise,” a criticism the WA Department of Health has disputed.

Although there has been no change to the length of time women spend at Armadale, Ms Rigby said that less visitors and specific visiting times [would make] for a quieter environment for all expectant and new mums as they start to establish a routine with their newborn.

“It was definitely quieter [without the families],” said Mrs Kelly.