11 July 2023

Birthing still a hot topic as LNP leader plans flying Cape York visit

| Matt Nicholls
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David Crisafulli is flying into Weipa and then onto Bamaga to discuss health issues in the Cape.

David Crisafulli is flying into Weipa and then onto Bamaga to discuss health issues in the Cape.

THE state’s Opposition Leader David Crisafulli will fly into Weipa today to speak with locals about birthing services in the community as he continues his Queensland health crusade.

The LNP leader has recently visited Cooktown and Thursday Island and will fly from Weipa to Bamaga on Tuesday.

“I will be in Weipa tomorrow and it is my intention to shine a spotlight on another community that has had the state government promise the return of maternity services and still there has been nothing,” Mr Crisafulli told Cape York Weekly.

“We are now in the situation in Queensland where since the late 1990s, there have been more birthing closures than are currently open.

“Is it any wonder record number of mums are having babies on the side of the road?

“We are determined to make sure that women can have a baby where, when and how they choose.

“When promises are made, they should be delivered.”

Former Weipa medical boss Alex Dunn, who is now living in Gympie, was recently sworn in as president of the Rural Doctors Association of Queensland.

He told The Courier-Mail that no birth should be at increased risk due to location factors.

“The safety of women and babies during gestation and birth should not depend on their postcode,” Dr Dunn said.

“We were encouraged to hear that key stakeholders are united in our commitment to achieving real outcomes for rural and remote communities at the recent maternity roundtable hosted by Health Minister Shannon Fentiman.”

Ms Fentimann is expected to make a trip to the Torres Strait this week to discuss the health service with mayors from the region, including the NPA.

However, Mr Crisafulli said it was time for the state government to start taking action.

“Weipa was promised maternity services and still it waits. As do a whole host of other places like Cooktown,” he said.

“We are going to continue to go back to these regions and shine a spotlight on promises made by the Palaszczuk government.”

Construction on the Weipa birthing suite was finished at the start of the year, but the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service put the birthing program on hold, citing staff shortages.

The TCHHS is now without a CEO after Beverley Hamerton resigned last month, following the death of a two-year-old child at Bamaga Hospital.

Mr Crisafulli said he would fly to Bamaga from Weipa to meet with community members and local leaders to discuss any issues at the hospital and throughout the NPA.

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