THE mother of a newborn has shared her delight at having been able to give birth in her home town of Chinchilla, just weeks after the alarming story of a roadside delivery on the Warrego Highway shone a spotlight on the town’s lacking maternity service.

Lacee Luther and husband Beau welcomed their second son, Kove, into the world in an emergency delivery at Chinchilla Hospital on March 1.

The hospital’s struggling maternity service recently made headlines after another local mother, Yvette Bracefield, went public with her harrowing story of being forced to give birth on the side of the road at MacAlister in early January.

Ms Bracefield was unable to use Chinchilla Hospital’s only birthing suite because it had been turned into a COVID-19 ward which, at the time, had no COVID patients in it.

Her husband rushed to drive Ms Bracefield to Dalby, 80km away, but had to pull over for her to give birth before they could reach the town.

“It’s unacceptable that in somewhere like Australia a woman would have to give birth by the side of the road, and I think the mothers and babies in Chinchilla do deserve better,” Ms Bracefield told the ABC.

The Darling Downs Hospital and Health Service has since restored the birthing suite to provide “maternity care”.

Ms Luther said she believed the roadside birthing incident was the reason she was able to have her emergency delivery in Chinchilla.

“In a way I think that lady’s misfortune was the only reason I was able to give birth here,” Ms Luther said.

“I’d planned to have my son Kove in Dalby but he arrived suddenly. Had that not happened to her (Ms Bracefield) and had it not been in the news, that might have been me giving birth on the side of the road.”

Ms Luther praised the nursing and midwifery staff at Chinchilla Hospital, saying she was “extremely happy with how it went” and “could not fault them in any way”.

She also said the fact that Kove was born in her home town was important to her and her family.

“We couldn’t have been happier, we had family close by, and the fact that he was born here makes us so proud, even just to have Chinchilla written on his birth certificate.”

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli, Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates and Callide candidate Bryson Head in Chinchilla

Ms Luther’s comments come as the Queensland Opposition this week visits Chinchilla and Bileola to call for improvements to rural healthcare and maternity service resourcing.

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli, Shadow Health Minister Ros Bates and Callide candidate Bryson Head are holding talks with stakeholders in the local heath sector to hear about broad improvements needed in rural services.

“Some have been people who are former health administrators, some are people still working in the system, some are patients and all of them have one thing in common – they just want a health system that enables them to service them in their hour of need,” Mr Crisafulli said.

“I don’t accept that there are places where mothers were able to give birth many decades ago, that they can’t today, and technology has improved and those places should be great places to live.

“I don’t accept that a mother living in a town the size of Chinchilla, and all it has to offer, should have to have “Warrego Highway” on the birth certificate of her precious little baby.”

The Queensland Health Minister’s office has not responded to a query from the Caller sent via the Health Department.

A department spokesperson pointed to an announcement in December last year of a new Chinchilla Clinical Training Centre (CTC) being established to “teach the next generation of regional health care professionals” thanks to $718,000 from the Palaszczuk Government and the resources sector.

The infrastructure project will be delivered in partnership between the Queensland Government and Rural Medical Education Australia to create a health training hub for the Chinchilla, Tara and Miles communities.

“The Covid-19 health crisis has taught us the importance of having highly skilled healthcare workers across all of Queensland,” Infrastructure Minister Steven Miles said.

“The centre will provide health training to rural high school and mature age students to boost regional Queensland’s future healthcare workforce.

“Local face to face training facilities such as this one establish a sustainable source of scarce local health professionals, and provide a pathway to university health qualifications for local residents.

“Once completed, the Chinchilla CTC will include a seminar room with capacity for 30 students, a health ward simulation room, two office spaces and a breakout foyer with bathroom facilities.”

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  1. “Ms Bracefield was unable to use Chinchilla Hospital’s only birthing suite because it had been turned into a COVID-19 ward which, at the time, had no COVID patients in it.” This is not a correct statement. It was never used as a covid room, or isolation room, as woman would have their antenatal appointments in it. The reason that the birthing suite was not available is because they had/have no surgeon or anesthesiologist if something went wrong such as an emergency c-section. The other issue they have is that they do not carry blood. So unless all that changed within the last 3 weeks, my wife would not have been made to give birth in Toowoomba.

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