The NSW opposition has pledged to reinstate maternity services in Milton if elected to government.
South Coast Labor candidate Annette Alldrick, beside shadow health minister Walt Secord, announced the opposition would restore level two birthing services at Milton Ulladulla Hospital.
Expectant mothers in the southern Shoalhaven currently travel to either Shoalhaven District Memorial Hospital in Nowra, or if they live south of Burrill Lake, to Moruya to give birth.
Birthing services ceased in July 2016. However, level one services, which include post and pre natal care, returned a year ago.
The cost of the restoration will be $5.5 million, costed by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office.
The proposed service includes provision of planned birthing care for low-risk pregnant women at 37 weeks gestation and for those who develop risk factors during labour, a shared care model by GP obstetricians and midwives, an obstetrician to conduct births where the clinical condition of the expectant mother or baby requries immediate delivery such as an emergency caesarean.
Mrs Alldrick, who has been a midwife at Shoalhaven Hospital for the past 15 years, said it was unreasonable for young parents to travel up to 60 kilometres either way on a highway, which is dangerous to drive on, to give birth.
“As a nurse with more than 41 years’ experience, I know first-hand the importance of giving young mums and babies the best start in life,” she said.
“They need to be able to birth in their own community.”
In April South Coast MP Shelley Hancock told the Times “we need to be able to move towards mums being able to have their babies at Milton again”.
Mr Secord said Mrs Alldrick had raised the issue of restoring maternity services shortly after she became a South Coast candidate.
“She is already fighting for her local community and ensuring that they get their fair share of health and hospital resources,” Mr Secord said.
“We want to see an investment in maternity services here. Again, this is about the South Coast community getting its fair share and it starts with maternity services at Milton Ulladulla Hospital.”
In May, Maternity campaigners Rebecca Cameron and Sunnee Ord said hiring an obstetrician was needed to restore services. All the boxes were ticked, they just needed to fill the position.
Mr Secord acknowledged hiring an obstetrician would be a challenge.
“Absolutely it will be a challenge, but we believe that if you fund it properly and provide the resources and funding that will occur,” he said.