The Southern NSW Local Health District (SNSWLHD) has doubled the number of hours of the Yass Midwifery Outreach Service that provides antenatal and postnatal care to pregnant women and new mums in the Yass Valley area.
The District is trialling an increase of an additional 20 hours midwifery care per week, following an investigation of local antenatal and postnatal requirements of women, including wide consultation with the community.
“With the new trial we now provide antenatal and postnatal care five days a week. These additional hours take into account the needs of women and families in surrounding communities and existing services, to ensure that women’s care can be provided in the right place, at the right time,” SNSWLHD Chief Executive Margaret Bennett said.
Yass Outreach Midwife Liz Perks, said the increased hours have allowed for increased availability of antenatal care and a greater number of home visits to new mothers, offering more support.
“We conduct antenatal checks following relevant guidelines at Yass District Hospital and refer pregnant women to the most appropriate clinical care, if required. As a midwife I also carry out postnatal visits in conjunction with birthing hospitals in Goulburn, Queanbeyan and the ACT. I go to homes and weigh the baby, take blood for jaundice levels, provide feeding advice, feeding assistance, and general postnatal checks of the mother and her baby for up to 10 days after birth,” Ms Perks said.
“It’s wonderful to provide this support and watch the women and their partners become more confident.”
Anna Davaris, who recently gave birth to son Harrison, praised the extra time provided to access the service in the Yass Valley.
“I have found the service really beneficial. I definitely needed support along the way and to have follow-up from Liz after I had Harrison was very reassuring,” Mrs Davaris said.
“It has definitely been much easier with the extended hours and much easier to make an appointment.”
The District has worked closely with NSW Health to consider a range of factors in assessing the right model of maternity services for the region, including service quality, safety, sustainability, equity and access in order to provide an appropriate model of care.
The detailed investigation of midwifery service delivery also forms a major part of the Yass Maternity Clinical Services Plan (CSP) which has been released as part of the review. This also takes into account how the service works with a District-wide approach to maternity services. The Yass Maternity CSP is available at https://www.snswlhd.health.nsw.gov.au/about-us/publications-and-reports
The trial will run for 12 months and be reassessed in June 2021.
The trialled increase in midwifery hours complements the $8 million Yass Hospital Redevelopment which is nearing completion.
The works include 24-hour access to emergency care, an additional treatment bay, dedicated ambulance entry point, an increase in patient beds from 10 to 12, improved community and allied health facilities and ongoing access to X-ray services.