28 May 2024

Weipa community gets first look at new birthing suite

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Liz Wilkes and Weipa maternity staff

Queensland Health chief midwifery officer Liz Wilkes (second from left) and Weipa maternity staff welcome the community to the opening of the new Weipa Hospital birthing suite on 24 May. Photo: Supplied.

The doors of the long-awaited birthing suite in Weipa are officially open after 25 years of locals having to travel elsewhere to give birth.

Queensland Health chief midwifery officer Liz Wilkes and Weipa maternity staff were eager to welcome community members to a tour of the new facility during the official opening on 24 May.

Weipa Hospital director of nursing Kindee Lawty said it was moving to see the hard work behind the service be presented to the community at last.

“I’m very humbled for the work that we’ve been doing and the services that we will be able to provide women and their families,” she said.

“The community is well invested within the hospital, and they’re generally very proud of their hospital, so it’s a great opportunity for us to show off certain parts of it when they’re brand new.”

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Ms Lawty explained that for any new service as significant as the birthing suite, giving residents a chance to see the space before they use it was helpful.

“I think there’s a lot of curiosity about certain services when they commence at the hospital because, once they do, some of those areas become restricted to access,” she said.

“The ability to come and see the environment and see how beautiful the rooms are, so it’s not so daunting is really important.

“I think it contributes to a peace of mind for the women and their families within community to actually see what a professional birthing suite looks like and meet our midwives and maternity staff; it certainly creates a more welcoming environment.”

Expectant mothers previously had to travel away from their families and support network at 36 weeks to give birth.

READ ALSO Weipa birthing announcement big win for expectant Liz

The local service will allow mothers to stay in their community and be cared for through a model the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Services calls Midwifery Group Practice.

“What that means is there is a continuity with the midwives and the women and their families throughout the entire pregnancy and up to six weeks afterwards, and that in itself builds beautiful relationships and creates a better environment for giving birth,” Ms Lawty said.

“I know in many cases, where mothers have other children, there is a great deal of pressure put on families having to leave, often without their partners.

“I think there will be a change in where women think about having their babies, and we are all looking forward to the first birth.”

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