Friday 03 May 2019

Leaders in maternity and newborn services from across Gippsland recently came together for the first time at a Regional Maternity Forum held at Federation University, Gippsland Campus. This inaugural forum brought together clinical managers and midwifery educators, creating networking opportunities and building support systems between the eight maternity hospitals in Gippsland - Bass Coast Health, Gippsland Southern Health Service, South Gippsland Hospital, West Gippsland Healthcare Group, Latrobe Regional Hospital, Central Gippsland Health, Bairnsdale Regional Health Service and Orbost Regional Health.


Each health service gave a presentation about their capability and workforce, then shared their team successes. The main focus of the forum was to highlight common themes across Gippsland and strengthen a regional approach to maternity and newborn services. This involved discussing the shortage of Midwives across Gippsland and the data integrity of the region’s system used to register births.


Guest speakers presented on a range of topics such as achieving quality improvement through strong data collection, Safer Care Victoria / Department of Health and Human Services projects and regional maternity education.


The forum was also an opportunity to promote the Maternity Connect Program. This important program supports rural Midwives to undertake paid clinical placements at tertiary settings to assist with their professional development and help them maintain and improve key clinical skills. Tertiary centres, which are larger hospitals that offer specialised services and staff, enable Midwives to gain crucial specialised knowledge and experience, and provide an opportunity to focus on learning about a specific clinical area; such as the birthing suite, foetal monitoring or post-natal care.


The forum provided a great opportunity for Midwives to share ideas, and discuss learnings from other services, including what other hospitals are doing well to improve patient safety and patient experience. The group was heartened by the amount of collaboration and networking that occurred on the day, indicating that regional networks are now well on the way to becoming firmly established. In addition to this, a number of new ideas were generated at the forum that will be taken back to health services for further development.


Due to the forum’s success, participants now plan to hold ongoing forums every four to six months.  The group extended a special thank you to the Latrobe Regional Health Executive team for supporting the event and FedUni School of Midwifery for providing the venue.

Pictured Above: Midwives from across Gippsland recently came together to strengthen and build maternity services across the region.