14 October 2022

Women and Children's hospital launches Maternity Assessment Unit and Gynaecology Day Unit

| Evelyn Karatzas
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Vanessa Brady and Wendy Alder

Wendy Alder and Vanessa Brady in the new Maternity Assessment Unit at the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children. Photo: ACT Health.

The Maternity Assessment Unit and the Gynaecology Day Unit have officially opened at the Canberra Hospital campus.

Located in the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children, they will provide women with a unique space to undergo pregnancy assessments and gynaecological treatment.

The Maternity Assessment Unit will enable women to participate in planned and unplanned assessments in the second half of their pregnancy, in early labour or two weeks after giving birth.

The Gynaecology Day Unit is designed to be a dedicated procedure suite for women who require gynaecological treatment.

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Centenary Hospital Midwifery assistant director Wendy Alder said the new Maternity Assessment Unit had been built to be co-located with the birthing suite and has been expanded to include four additional beds, a consult room and a purpose-built triage room.

“We’re really excited about the service because it’s going to centralise the care that we’re able to provide to women,” Ms Alder said.

“We’ll be seeing women who present with pregnancy concerns who may be starting their birthing journey, that exciting time when the baby’s decided that it’s finally time to arrive, or in the early postnatal periods when they’ve just gone home and might have some concerns either about their wellbeing or their baby’s.

“They’ll be able to speak to dedicated triage staff members who can guide them over the phone, assess what’s going on for them, and then determine the best course of action in helping them address their concerns.”

Ms Alder said as the Centenary Hospital delivers between 3600 and 3800 babies a year, this new unit will be a perfect addition to the services available for women to access during their birthing journey.

Woman in Maternity Unit

Centenary Hospital for Women and Children director of nursing Regina Ginich demonstrating how the bed spaces work in the new Maternity Unit. Photo: Evelyn Karatzas.

Canberra Hospital Campus Modernisation executive group manager Vanessa Brady said the two new services were part of a nine-stage, $50 million program to expand services for the Centenary Hospital for Women and Children.

Ms Brady said she was excited for the next stages of the project to be completed.

“In the new year, we have a new Antenatal Unit coming, combined with a new service and an Early Pregnancy Unit,” she said.

“Then midway through next year, we have a brand new service entering into Canberra Health Services, which is the provision of an in-patient service for Adolescent Mental Health, also integrated with a dedicated unit for adolescent care in medical and surgical.

“Then, towards the latter part of next year, we have an expansion of what we call Special Care Nursery, which is for premature and very young babies.”

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Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the midwifery-led maternity unit provides eight-bed spaces and has been relocated closer to the Birthing Unit.

“Canberra Health Services has also introduced a new model of care to accompany the new maternity unit, with a 24-hour, seven days a week service and a triaged-based system to ensure pregnant people get the right service at the right time.” Ms Stephen-Smith said.

“Women and pregnant people who need a maternity assessment during pregnancy or after birth can self-refer and call the service (02 5124 7444) to speak to one of the wonderful midwives. They will assess the situation and offer appropriate advice, including asking them to come to the Maternity Assessment Unit.

“The team can do a comprehensive assessment, including medical and obstetric history, any new symptoms or concerns, and will also clinically assess the baby’s wellbeing.”

Ms Stephen-Smith said the new Gynaecology Day Unit will provide “a more supportive environment for the sensitive, person-centred care each patient needs when they are feeling particularly vulnerable”.

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