The Emerald Hospital Maternity unit will continue to service Central Highlands mothers.
The Emerald Hospital Maternity unit will continue to service Central Highlands mothers. Paul Braven GLA311215BABY

Maternity unit safe

SPECULATION of the closure of Emerald Hospital's maternity unit has sparked concern with mothers throughout the region.

Blackwater mum of three Bek Troth gave birth to her third daughter this week at Emerald Hospital and said it would end up "costing a fortune” to go anywhere else.

"After having my first baby here I didn't want to go anywhere else,” she said.

"I have and would recommend Emerald maternity to anyone and everyone who asked me - it would be devastating to lose such a great service.

"(If the maternity unit closed) I would be limited to Rockhampton and would be very unhappy as I'd have a two-hour drive, family would have to stay in motels to be close to me and it would end up costing us a fortune.”

An investigation by the Sunday Mail this week sparked concern for Central Highlands residents, with the paper suggesting Emerald Hospital's maternity unit was threatened for closure.

Member for Gregory Lachlan Millar said a number of local mothers had contacted him this week, "concerned at the prospect of having to travel to Rockhampton to give birth”.

"The fear of possibly having to give birth on the side of the Capricorn Highway was a genuine concern before we secured the birthing status of the Emerald Hospital - we can't afford to go back to those days,” Mr Millar said.

"There's no more basic health service than being able to be cared for and give birth in your local community. Mothers and their families shouldn't have to travel hundreds of kilometres to give birth safely.”

However Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service chief executive Steve Williamson confirmed the maternity unit was "absolutely secure” and would continue to service Central Highlands mothers.

"We have invested in the hospital to strengthen the service to provide more care closer to home and have increased visiting specialists from Rockhampton who provide support to our fantastic rural generalist doctors in Emerald,” he said.

"I can assure the community that we have a long-term vision of continuing to provide a great maternity and birthing service in Emerald for the Central Highlands community.”