Protest demands action on Mur'bah birthing unit

MUMS, pregnant women, medicos and community leaders have urged an angry gathering at Murwillumbah Hospital not to accept the shut down of the facility's birthing unit.

More than 120 people turned out for the protest yesterday morning with many expressing fears the unit won't be reopened after the closure and review announced last week by the Northern Rivers Local Health District.

Reece Byrnes, representing Federal Richmond MP Justine Elliot, sheeted the blame home to Lismore MP Thomas George and NSW Health Minister Jillian Skinner.

Mr Byrnes said the decision had come just weeks after the State election.

"Where are they? Missing in action.

"The simple fact is this wouldn't happen on the North Shore of Sydney but your local member is quite happy for it to happen in Murwillumbah.

"Let's tell Thomas George we're not going to take this lying down."

The Greens' Dawn Walker said "what we're seeing here today is a community that will not stand by and see cuts like this that affect their women, their mothers, their babies and their families.

"So we say to you re-open the Murwillumbah birthing centre.

"The politics of this situation mean you will be heard on this."

Ms Walker said with the State budget currently being decided, the community needed to make sure the money was found to re-open the birthing unit.

Tweed mayor Gary Bagnall said it was the latest in a long line of "whittling away" of the hospital's services.

"Just blow-by-blow they keep going," he said.

He said local State MPs, the premier and the Health Minister couldn't hide behind the "faceless bureaucrats" who've cut the services.

"It's up to them to tell their staff to get an obstetrician up to this hospital. Good on all of you today and our shire is right behind you."

Among the protesters was Murwillumbah midwife Jenny McDonald.

"They're just diminishing the services further and further," she said.



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