Lismore Hospital makes its case

INVITED to respond to Dr Taylor's letter and recent reports in The Northern Star, the Northern NSW Local Health District management emphasised that new mums would not be transferred to Casino District Hospital.

Acting chief executive Annette Symes of NNSW LHD, said: "Following storm damage to the temporary maternity 'pod' in late November, resulting in the closure of the pod, new mums and their babies have been accommodated within what is known as A4; which is the existing maternity ward. In terms of bed numbers, the maternity unit was reduced by six beds with the pod's closure.

"What was lost in the pod's closure was the opportunity to provide new mums and their babies with single room facilities.

"This change aside, the Birthing Suite, Special Care Nursery, and high level of care provided by our midwives has continued uninterrupted.

"Further, the maternity ward has continued to accommodate all new mums and their babies, within a shared ward environment, which is standard across the public hospital system.

"The continuing rumour in the community that new mums and their babies will be transferred to Casino District Hospital following delivery is completely untrue.

"Prior to the pod's closure, the maternity unit was often used to accommodate general medical patients as the demand from maternity patients did not always meet the supply of beds.

"This practice has now ceased due to the reduction in maternity beds available caused by the pod's closure.

"If there is an 'overflow' of general ward patients in LBH, these non-maternity patients are transferred to Casino District Hospital.

"In terms of comments regarding 'early discharge' it has been accepted clinical practice since the early 1990s to discharge new mums sooner rather than later to accommodate the mother's desire to be within her familiar home environment.

"All discharges are conducted in consultation with the new mum and her family.

"No mother is discharged against her wishes, or where there is a medical need to remain admitted."



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