Hospital upgrade puts stop to births this year

NO more babies will be delivered at Theodore Hospital this year.

The birthing services at the medical facility will stop temporarily, while the maternity ward is refurbished.

At its July meeting, the Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service's Board agreed to create a stronger, more sustainable birthing service at Theodore's Multi-Purpose Health Service.

Chairman Charles Ware said after the devastating 2011 flood, birthing services at Theodore had been hampered due to damage to the operating theatres.

Over recent time there have also not been enough qualified midwives to provide a safe service.

Mr Ware said it was a priority for the board to increase health services to central Queenslanders, closer to their home town.

"It is essential for women of our rural centres to have access to maternity services as close as possible to their home," he said.

So the board has agreed to create a new senior nurse/midwife position as well as creating a bursary of $19,000 for a local nurse to train as a midwife.

It will also ensure yearly training of the Theodore team in birth day and newborn care, and will reinstate the operating theatre.

This will mean low-risk birthing will be provided at Theodore into the future, capitalising on the skills and experience of Theodore Medical Superintendent Dr Bruce Chater, who has worked at the hospital for more than 30 years.

Dr Chater has delivered generations of babies in that time and he is thrilled with the plans to build a better maternity service for local women.

Plans were also being prepared to allow for a proposed community-supported refurbishment of the labour ward.

"As with all rural hospitals, arrangements will remain in place to support imminent births."