Program reprieve

A VITAL Gippsland-wide midwifery education and support program has been granted a reprieve, despite the loss of government funding.

Latrobe Regional Hospital and the Central Gippsland Health Service announced last week they had joined forces to ensure the continuation of the Rural Maternity Support Program.

State Government funding for the program ended on Saturday.

LRH chief executive Peter Craighead said LRH and CGHS were also seeking the support of other health services across the region.

The program links midwives with general practitioners, obstetricians and health services, providing education, support, networking and resource sharing.

Mr Craighead said clinical midwife consultant Kylie Osborne would continue to be based in the Latrobe Valley, providing outreach support and education to midwives across the Gippsland region.

“We have worked closely with CGHS to ensure this valuable program will continue and we are talking to smaller health services across the region about their ongoing commitment to the program,” he said.

“What this means is we can improve women’s access to maternity services in rural towns.

“This program provides the support to midwives who are responsible for the care of women and babies in rural areas.”

Ms Osborne welcomed the news, saying the program could continue to “ensure that there are safe and sustainable practices across all Gippsland hospitals and to ensure mentoring for midwives”.

Ms Osborne said the program, which has been running since 2010, has improved networking across the region and has provided targeted education and policies.