Health cuts putting mums ‘n’ bubs at risk

The fight by one local community to keep their maternity ward open.

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How much would you pay to not have to drive an hour to give birth to your a baby? Well in this debate, your money and private health insurance mean nothing.

It’s a question that goes to the heart of yet another rally to save a regional hospital due to progressive government health cuts.

This time it was the Milton Ulladulla Hospital Maternity Ward on the South Coast of NSW, which Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has told local supporters is deemed uneconomical to keep open.

It’s been a long fight for the community of Milton to keep their maternity ward at the local public hospital alive with maternal and neo-natal care services being declined over the past 5 years.

The fight continues with the people of Milton now petitioning for 4,000 signatures to ward-off the health cuts affecting their community.

“We just want the best outcome for our local community and not encroach on other hospitals funding nor assist other hospitals statistics to gain further funding for their hospitals to grow at the cost of our hospital being downgraded and lose it’s services due to lack of demand on such services, says Save Maternity facilities at Milton Hospital spokesperson Sunnee Ord.

(Meanwhile: Townsville to get $100 million for a new sports stadium to replace the existing one.)

Milton / Ulladulla is a coastal community of just over 15,000 permanent residents and provides services to the Shoalhaven City Council’s significantly larger population of just over 100,000 people.

As a popular NSW holiday destination, located 3 hours 15 minutes and some 226kms South of Sydney, it’s likely you’ve been there and if you haven’t you certainly should.

It’s a small slice of the states population pie when you divvy up the NSW State budget of $17.9 billion assigned to public hospitals and private health care.

When government won’t provide essential health care to babies and new-mothers in regional communities where services are so desperately needed and afar of major city centres, we have to wonder where our governments heart to support humanity is.

Driving these crazy health cuts is the reality that providing public hospital care costs lots of money with health being the largest expenditure in all government budgets. This expenditure has increased by 5% over the past 10 years.

The solution for our government, is to reduce this expenditure. Our government see an opportunity for reduction by closing the Maternity Ward at Milton Ulladulla Hospital.

“We would have not taken on a political stance, but with Liberals blatant ignorance for our plight and Labour and Greens support, it has happened whether we steered it or not.” says Ord.

The downfall of this reduction in closing the Milton Ulladulla Hospital Maternity Ward, is that it forces mothers and their newborn babies to be either at a significant distance to health care, or to move into those regional and metropolitan centres where maternal and neo-natal care is available.

Thereby robbing those starting or growing their family of their ability to live in the location of their choosing. Not to mention, undermining government regional relocation grants and regional schemes that encourage people to move beyond the States high-density populated city centres.

We simply need to support the lives of people who live in regional communities better.

So, where will the women of Milton give birth should it close down?

Well, the Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital at Nowra is only a good 45 minute drive away travelling mostly at speeds of 100km per hour (don’t forget to lock you car when you get there).

Or, the Moruya District Hospital is 1 hour and 7 minutes away, travelling along winding roads, again at speeds of 100km per hour (watch out for ‘Roos crossing the road mid contraction).

To give your support to Save Maternity facilities at Milton Hospital visit them on Facebook.

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