The North West Hospital and Health Service has opened a Maternity Hub in Mount Isa to provide extended support to local mothers.
More than 50 parents and their babies attended the Maternity Hub opening on Wednesday February 12, which will provide continued support for women during pregnancy and motherhood.
NWHHS executive director of nursing and midwifery Michelle Garner said the new facility allowed midwives to practise their model of care.
"It means that Mount Isa mums can essentially be referred to a midwife, that midwife can birth their baby at the hospital and the midwife will continue do the post-care with mum and baby," Ms Garner said.
"I think a midwifery group practice is needed everywhere in the world, particularly in Mount Isa. I think there are a lot of people in Mount Isa who are away from mum or grandma or auntie; and I think it is nice for mothers to know they have a midwife that is theirs and that they can ring at the drop of a hat and have an idea of what is going on with their pregnancy or newborn baby.
"We are doing some work to join midwifery and child health together so that the journey you go on from your pregnancy to a growing child and all in the same area."
Ms Garner said the facility would serve a number of purposes including a safe space for new mums.
"This will be a group practice where mums about to have babies can come and learn what is to happen going through the birthing process," she said.
"But it is an also for post-pregnancy where mums can come together and connect and have mother's groups.
"Mums love having a midwife to go to, they love that interaction. It's nice to sit down and have some extra time to chat."
After lobbying for the Maternity Hub for the last 10 years, Ms Garner said external funding got the ball rolling.
"We got some funding from Rural and Remote Queensland Health and that got the ball rolling and then the current government had a Nurses and Midwives election commitment which guaranteed 100 midwives across the state and of that we (NWHHS) got five.
"To be able to run this model so that the midwifes are always available you need a number of them to do that and back each other up. So we have positions for 10 an a half midwifes that are seperate to the maternity ward staff at the hospital."
When asked if this model would expand to other north west practices, Ms Garner said some communities already had a similar model.
"The midwifery group practice in Cloncurry, for example, has been there for some time, and that midwife also assists Julia Creek and McKinlay and births babies in the Mount Isa Hospital," Ms Garner said.
"We are in the process of changing this model, because of the travel between Cloncurry and Mount Isa."
Ms Garner said the maternity services had come a long way since she first started in the North West.
"When I first came here, we already had one outreach midwife and it was a great model of care. So we have talked about it and tried to get that model up and going and of course those things take time.
"We know it is a good model, we looked towards New Zealand to where the group practice is part of the public health sector."
The Maternity Hub is located at 3 Lucy Street Mount Isa, next to Child Health.
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