The Nationals Member for Lowan Emma Kealy is concerned at a decision made late last night to suspend maternity services at the hospital in Horsham.
The decision means that local expectant mothers will be forced to travel an extra two and a half hours to Ballarat or another regional hospital to give birth.
Ms Kealy said the news was further validation of the concerns raised by local people about a potential loss of local health services when the merger of the Wimmera Health Care Group and Ballarat Health was initially proposed.
“This news is absolutely devastating for local pregnant women who want the security of knowing that maternity services are available at their local regional hospital,” Ms Kealy said.
“Families deserve confidence that the support services they need are close by and won’t be closed on a whim, particularly in the case of an early delivery.”
In a media release issued by the Victorian Government on 28 October 2021 announcing the merger the Minister for Health said:
“The creation of Grampians Health will provide a strong, integrated health service to benefit the health and wellbeing of the local community.”
“We’re ensuring all Victorians have access to the high-quality health care and services they need and deserve close to home.”
“It is only six months since the creation of Grampians Health and we have already seen dental services at the Edenhope campus stopped, reports that the fracture clinic at the Horsham Campus has closed with people needing to travel to Ballarat for treatment and now we learn that maternity services have also been suspended indefinitely,” Ms Kealy said.
“So much for the assurances of the Minister about high-quality health care and services close to home.
“This is just another aspect of the worsening crisis in our healthcare system in Victoria.
“All Victorians, including Lowan residents, deserve a health care service that is first rate, not one that is letting down families and generating stress and uncertainty at what should be time for celebration.
“Years of neglect and under-resourcing of our local health services by Labor Governments is spiraling to crisis point, with local families now paying the price.”