1 August 2018

Government hoping $2.6 million Calvary maternity upgrade will relieve pressure on Centenary Hospital

| Glynis Quinlan
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Jessica Faulks and David Hamer with baby Marcus and ACT Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris in one of the new single occupancy rooms in Calvary Public Hospital’s refurbished maternity ward. Photo: Supplied.

The Government is hoping Calvary Hospital’s newly refurbished maternity ward will relieve pressure on the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children by keeping more women on the Northside to have their babies.

The $2.6 million upgrade of the maternity ward has been unveiled and provides four more beds, more single rooms and day-beds for partners wanting to stay at the hospital.

ACT Health Minister Meegan Fitzharris said there has already been an increase in interest from mothers-to-be in staying at the refurbished ward, which she described as “a huge transformation.”

“What this means is that we now have two modern facilities for women to have babies in hospitals here in the ACT, both at the Centenary Hospital and here at Calvary Public Hospital in Bruce,” said Ms Fitzharris.

“That provides a much better level of facility right across the territory and gives more women the choice to have their babies here on the Northside.”

The Government has been under pressure in recent months over concerns about inadequate staffing and resourcing at the Centenary Hospital with the Opposition saying these are systemic problems.

Ms Fitzharris has previously put forward the Calvary Hospital maternity ward upgrade as a way of redressing a perceived imbalance with the Centenary Hospital having to cope with most of the maternity demand.

“We’ve certainly seen over the past couple of years since the opening of the Centenary Hospital a drop-off in the number of women here at Calvary and a significant increase at Canberra Hospital,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“There are some reasons for that which are outside the facility itself but we’ve certainly heard from a lot of women they wanted to see single rooms and a more modern facility. That’s exactly what’s been delivered here at Calvary Public Hospital.”

Although there are only four extra beds at Calvary as a result of the upgrade (making a total of 18 beds), Ms Fitzharris said there will also be extra beds coming online at Canberra Hospital.

“Overall there’s around about a 22 or 23 per cent increase in the number of maternity beds in the ACT in this financial year.”

Calvary Public Hospital’s Clinical Midwife Consultant of Postnatal Services, Jane Debaecker, said maternity ward staff are “absolutely thrilled” with the refurbished ward – particularly the 10 single rooms and the opportunity it provides for couples to stay together after the birth of their babies.

“We have an absolute expectation that more families will want to come here,” Ms Debaecker said.

“In our largest room, they feel as if they’re at the Hyatt.”

One of the new single occupancy rooms in the maternity ward at Calvary Hospital. Photo supplied.

As well as four extra beds, the $2.6 million upgrade of the Calvary maternity ward has delivered:

  • a reconfigured Maternity Unit that now has 10 single rooms and four very large twin rooms
  • an intimate patient and family lounge and a spacious baby assessment room
  • enhanced facilities for partners who want to stay at the hospital
  • completely redecorated patient and public areas to create a colourful and contemporary feel for the unit.

“I am extremely confident that women and families will be delighted by the new facility, and I’m also pleased to announce that Calvary will be updating its birthing suite as well,” Ms Fitzharris said.

“I’d encourage women planning to start a family to consider Calvary Public Hospital, which offers a high standard of care in a new modern ward.”

Tours of Calvary Public Hospital’s maternity ward are conducted every Sunday at 2:30 pm.

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