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Excuse me, ACT Health. I would like to choose where I birth, thanks.

By briggles - 19 January 2015 15

By now we are all aware of the proposal by ACT Health that pregnant women in the ACT should be allocated their birthing hospital depending on their postcode – Calvary for the North, TCH for the South. The new facilities at TCH are reaching capacity – they are state of the art and give women the option to have a water birth, and there is of course the NICU.

Sorry-not-sorry: didn’t we ALL help pay for TCH’s new facilities through our taxes? Why would some women then be told they are not allowed to use it? This is ridiculous and I can hardly believe it is happening.

A very long and amusing facebook thread has opened up with mums debating which is better and why. Mums have asked; if TCH is at capacity due to the excellent facilities, instead of this postcode model, shouldn’t we be looking at how Calvary can improve? But the thing is, it doesn’t matter which is better. All that matters is that women have the right to chose. I was one of those mums who snuck over the border to Queanbeyan for my birth, and IT WAS MY CHOICE to do that. Yay for me. And another mum decided to birth at Calvary. Yay again! And a different mum chose TCH. Yay for her too! Other mums decide to birth at home. Yay for them! IT IS THEIR CHOICE.

This issue is much more deep seeded though. It is about the ongoing disempowerment of women when it comes to birth. What the government does not seem to be aware of, is that women are the experts at their own births and bodies, and a woman who has rights and choice and empowerment when it comes to her birth, will have a much more positive birth, with less interventions. Taking away her right to chose will be a very sad day for ACT Health system.

What’s Your opinion?


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15 Responses to
Excuse me, ACT Health. I would like to choose where I birth, thanks.
TracyS 1:06 pm 21 Jan 15

Having moved back to Canberra from Melbourne very recently, the practice of having set geographical feeder areas for health services is quite common. Where resources are limited, the health services have to prioritise cases somehow…

Not sure how Calvary would cope though as the northern suburbs have greatly expanded through Gungahlin and the maternity unit at Calvary doesn’t seem to be all that big.

Blen_Carmichael 8:31 am 21 Jan 15

I think this behaviour is called the ‘Baby Jesus’ syndrome.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 3:21 am 21 Jan 15

I’m still not sure why anyone would think they have a ‘right’ to pick and choose if they didn’t have private health insurance.

Masquara 6:19 pm 20 Jan 15

Just turn up in labour at the hospital of your choice and refuse any transfer to another hospital?

chewy14 3:12 pm 20 Jan 15

JC said :

dlenihan said :

Anyone from the northern suburbs, especially the far north should be very careful talking about a fair spend of taxes paid, considering the stupidity of the proposed Metro Light Rail.

Whilst I disagree with the OP, I also disagree with you too. Gungahlin=new suburbs=growth are of Canberra=imbalance in infrastructure building. Just like when Tuggernaong=new suburb=growth area of Canberra=imbalance in infrastructure spending.

None of that actually justifies the construction of the tram.

It’s fine that infrastructure spending will be higher for the first few years of development of a greenfields area, it’s not fine to use that to justify the construction of a white elephant monorail in that new area when far cheaper and superior options exist.

crackerpants 2:59 pm 20 Jan 15

I agree with the OP in principle – that women have the right to choose – but I don’t think it bears out in a practical sense. If women living in south Tuggers are forced to travel to Bruce to give birth because Woden is full, then what has happened to their choice?

Perhaps they’d choose Calvary anyway, but most women are going to want a close-ish to home option. The 15 minute trip with #1 is forever etched, and I was relieved, on that front at least, that I needed to be induced for the next two.

JC 10:40 am 20 Jan 15

dlenihan said :

Anyone from the northern suburbs, especially the far north should be very careful talking about a fair spend of taxes paid, considering the stupidity of the proposed Metro Light Rail.

Whilst I disagree with the OP, I also disagree with you too. Gungahlin=new suburbs=growth are of Canberra=imbalance in infrastructure building. Just like when Tuggernaong=new suburb=growth area of Canberra=imbalance in infrastructure spending.

JC 10:37 am 20 Jan 15

Oh my how things have changed. Not all that long ago if you wanted to get into Calvary you needed to book in 12 months in advance! Exaggeration of course but you get my drift. I live west Belco area and my wife had no choice BUT to go to Canberra hospital, due to a) Calvary being booked out and b) my wife having a condition that was considered medium risk, and Calvary only does low risk patients. At the time we were not too impressed, but must admit the facilities at Canberra were outstanding and this was at the interim facility, the finished product opened about 2 weeks later.

Wife is pregnant again and has already been booked into Canberra, again the risk factor comes into play.

Having said that though I can see where the government is coming from. Whilst there may well be a difference in age of the facilities I have no doubt what so ever that women giving birth at either centre and their children are given the same level of care and treatment regardless.

As for the OP and choice, yes women have choice. The choices are private, birth at home, or birth in the public healthcare system. If the latter is chosen then it is entirely fair that the government chooses the facility they should be using. Just like the government chooses which doctor is on duty (no choice there I’m afraid) and of course the government also chooses does antenatal care too.

pink little birdie 9:55 am 20 Jan 15

screaming banshee said :

You have the choice to go private

All the people I know who have had private cover have chosen to go public for the births of their children because Canberra public health is very good and private health care is a rip.
If your baby has issues you get shunted to public care, if the birth has issues you are shunted to public, if it’s a complex birth you get shunted to public.
If you go public all the way you get excellent care with the same medical experts with no $5000 gap and paying private premiums for 12 months before the birth.

Madam Cholet 8:23 am 20 Jan 15

JimCharles said :

Surely, if you live in the North, you want to go to the closest place to give birth and show that the demand is there, then lobby for more maternity funding for the Northside?
Why would you want to drive 30kms and then not find a parking space?

Ah yes, I remember ‘that’ drive to the hospital very well – and we only had to go about 12kms. Long enough in my book, especially since most places don’t want you in until you are basically about to give birth – even the private ones.

I don’t think the lack of services stops at birthing facilities though. I’ve been sat in emergency (only twice since I’ve lived in Canberra, and only once for myself) and heard from other patients that Calvary can’t deal with their specifc issue so they have to come south.

JimCharles 9:25 pm 19 Jan 15

Fascinating discussion, I saw some politician guy complaining vociferously.
I thought the Liberal opposition are normally programmed to complain about the South losing out to the North on infrastructure improvements, but now they want to argue that Northern residents are losing out and being treated unfairly? Or is this just a campaign for votes?

Surely, if you live in the North, you want to go to the closest place to give birth and show that the demand is there, then lobby for more maternity funding for the Northside?
Why would you want to drive 30kms and then not find a parking space?

screaming banshee 7:26 pm 19 Jan 15

You have the choice to go private

dlenihan 6:12 pm 19 Jan 15

Anyone from the northern suburbs, especially the far north should be very careful talking about a fair spend of taxes paid, considering the stupidity of the proposed Metro Light Rail.

watto23 4:47 pm 19 Jan 15

VYBerlinaV8_is_back said :

I’m not sure what the problem is here. Women in Canberra have an amazing array of health options not available to literally billions of other people around the world. While we should always strive for excellence, we need to remember just how exceptionally fortunate we are.

+1 we love a good whinge in Canberra when we are some of the luckiest people in the world.

VYBerlinaV8_is_back 4:07 pm 19 Jan 15

I’m not sure what the problem is here. Women in Canberra have an amazing array of health options not available to literally billions of other people around the world. While we should always strive for excellence, we need to remember just how exceptionally fortunate we are.

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