Kilmore and District Hospital
31 August 2016
31 August 2016
Ms RYAN (Euroa) — (9986) My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Health. The action I seek is for the minister to provide sufficient funding to enable the Kilmore and District Hospital to become a level 3 maternity service. This is not so that the hospital can take on higher risk cases but so that it can deal with the normal risk pregnancies from within its own catchment and build on the current referral pathways that it has.
The northern growth corridor, which includes Broadmeadows, Craigieburn, Mitchell shire, Murrindindi west and Whittlesea, is growing rapidly. The population of Mitchell shire is expected to grow at an annual rate of 6.8 per cent over the next 15 years, compared to a 1.3 per cent growth rate for the rest of the state. According to a 2013–14 review of the provision of maternity services in the northern growth corridor, the number of women of birthing age is expected to almost double. This is largely driven by the growth in Mitchell shire. The monthly average number of births at Kilmore hospital has increased from 16 in 2012–13 to 25 last financial year. Last financial year there were 292 births at Kilmore hospital, which was an increase of 47 per cent on the previous year.
I think this increase should be a red flag for the government and that it must ensure that the hospital has the capacity to provide the services that it needs in order to deal with such rapid growth. An assessment carried out by the hospital in December last year against the state capability framework identified that while Kilmore is currently funded as a level 2 service, it is actually providing a level of care that is closer to level 3.
That assessment identified a number of gaps which the hospital needs to bridge in order to demonstrate the full capability of a level 3 maternity service. These gaps primarily relate to diagnostic imaging, the paediatric workforce and theatre capability. More than 80 per cent of women who have their babies at Kilmore hospital reside in Mitchell shire. Since the closure of Seymour's maternity ward in March 2014, most women from Seymour are also accessing that maternity ward. Providing the funding to enable Kilmore to become a level 3 maternity service would help reduce pressure on secondary and tertiary maternity service providers, including the Northern Hospital. It is important. It will improve the sustainability of the services that the hospital provides, but more critically it will reduce clinical risk.
The quality of care that is being delivered by the staff at Kilmore is excellent, and I really want to stress that, but the hospital is facing rapid growth. It is not hard to see how without adequate resourcing the tragedies which occurred at the Bacchus Marsh hospital could be repeated. I urge the minister to review the funding currently provided to Kilmore hospital to ensure that it is funded as a level 3 service and it can meet the needs of its local community.