8 May 2024

Weipa welcomes new Cape and Torres midwifery boss

| Cape York Weekly
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Newly-appointed director of midwifery Michelle O’Connor will oversee birthing teams in teams in Weipa, Thursday Island and Cooktown from the western Cape York township. Photo: Supplied.

With birthing services set to make a return to Weipa after 25 years later this month, Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service (TCHHS) has announced experienced rural and remote midwife Michelle O’Connor will lead the organisation’s midwifery offering in the region.

Ms O’Connor has most recently served as Queensland Health’s assistant director of midwifery in the Office of the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer in the state capital, and the Weipa appointment coincides with the International Day of the Midwife on 5 May.

The recommencement of local birthing at Weipa Hospital has been celebrated by expectant mothers across western Cape York and Ms O’Connor said she was focused on supporting midwives to work in continuity of care and scope of practice to benefit the women they were caring for.

“I’m excited to have joined [TCHHS] and am committed to ensuring rural and remote women get the best possible care, both clinically and culturally,” she said.

Ms O’Connor previously spent about 10 years working in New Zealand in her early career as a lead maternity carer offering continuity of midwifery care.

READ ALSO Weipa birthing announcement big win for expectant Liz

She said she was passionate about state-wide growth in midwifery continuity of care for pregnant and post-natal women, and rolling out of more midwifery group practice (MGP) services, particularly across Cape York and the Torres Strait.

Ms O’Connor will oversee the MGP teams in Weipa, Thursday Island and Cooktown, although the latter birthing service remains temporarily suspended due to staff shortages.

TCHHS acting executive director nursing and midwifery Sarah Worth said Ms O’Connor’s significant experience would benefit women throughout the region.

“We are delighted to welcome Michelle to our region,” she said.

“Her reputation in the midwifery industry is impeccable and having her here, based in Weipa, as we relaunch the birthing service will no doubt assist us in attracting high quality staff.”

Birthing services are set to commence in Weipa on 22 May.

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