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Group 3

Exciting Changes for Maternity Services

GV Health is proud to announce a range of exciting changes for its maternity services, including upgraded facilities, accommodation for partners to stay during the postnatal period, improved continuity of care and provision for future water birth and in vitro fertilisation (IVF) services.

In 2022 GV Health’s maternity team undertook a period of community consultation including a community forum, online survey and meetings with community groups.

Maternity Services Manager, Carmel Brophy, said the Maternity team took the feedback they received very seriously.

“A decline in birth numbers and the redevelopment of our unit prompted our team to seek community consultation on ways to improve our service provision to our families in our region,” she said.

“We wanted to work with families to support them through their pregnancies and birth journeys, with the aim of providing continuity of care models within the core antenatal period to both low and high-risk women, collaborating with both Midwives and Obstetricians.”

Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) Clinical Coordinator, Zoe Andrus, said one of the most important pieces of information that came from that consultation was the need to allow a support person to stay overnight with mother and baby.

“It’s not just the mum that’s had the baby, it’s a family unit,” Mrs Andrus said.

“Partners are very much more involved now, it’s their child as well so they need to be involved in that initial care.”

GV Health’s Maternity Services team took this feedback onboard and a support person is now warmly invited to stay overnight at GV Health through the postpartum period.

Kia and Nick Sheldon from Moama welcomed their son Alvy into the world on February 14 and were transferred to GV Health after Alvy was placed in special care.

“It was a very stressful time and we were worried about where Nick would stay while we were in hospital,” Mrs Sheldon said.

“But luckily the Maternity Ward had just started to offer partners to stay, and Nick was the first one. This was a huge relief and honestly saved us all so much stress and anxiety over the five days. The nurses really tried their best to not increase any more stress and not add to the trauma of it all, especially being an hour away from home.”

GV Health’s Maternity Unit, Birthing Suites and Special Care Nursery have also recently been upgraded.

In addition to single rooms for each mother, with space for a support person to stay, the refurbished Maternity Ward now also boasts a brand-new dedicated parenting and visitor area where staff can undertake support and assessments for newborns in the ambience of a relaxed, shared environment.

A new bath for water births is expected to be available for use from mid-March.

In addition to this, the models of care offered at GV Health have been changed to improve the continuity of care and patient experience.

Looking forward, GV Health’s Maternity Team is now in the process of developing new postnatal education services and preparing for the future provision of public IVF services.

Clinical Director of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Associate Professor Sinead Barry, said IVF services will offered in collaboration with the Royal Women’s Hospital in Melbourne.

“Shepparton is going to be one of the hospitals that will supply that satellite service to local women,” Assoc Prof Barry said.

She said this addition to the community would relieve the stress of those having to travel to Melbourne for intensive appointments.

“We have lots of really exciting changes happening and we’re trying to strengthen our relationship with the Royal Women’s Hospital and get more specialists to come with specialty expertise, to cut down that travel to Melbourne.”

Further information is available via our Maternity Services webpage.

To book an antenatal appointment at GV Health, please visit your GP to arrange a referral.