Labor calls for investment in additional Mother Baby Units – Tasmania Examiner

news, local-news, Rebecca White, Tasmania, health, mother baby, parenting, babies, Labor

New parents in the North and North-West are missing out on vital support because the state’s only public Mother Baby Unit is located in Hobart, the Labor party says. Labor leader Rebecca White said parents facing difficulties should be able to access the help they needed, regardless of where they lived in Tasmania. “Families should not have to compete for access to support after the birth of a child,” Ms White said. “There is a wait list. Parents have to sometimes wait weeks or months to access this service. “Tasmania only has one public Mother Baby Unit and it is in the South – there is no explanation as to why we don’t have the same access to services in the North and the North-West.” Ms White said Labor was suggesting the government invest in a total of 10 beds across the state. When asked how much this would cost, she said this was a matter for the government. “Last year alone there were more than 5500 babies born in Tasmania, so it’s clear that one public Mother Baby Unit is not enough,” Ms White said. “There are private services available for families who can afford it, but more public resources are essential to supporting parents struggling with issues like feeding and sleeping difficulties and mental health conditions.” A government spokesperson said it was expected perinatal services would be considered as part of the Launceston General Hospital Masterplan, which would inform the next stage of the $87 million LGH redevelopment. The spokesperson said the government offered a range of services to support mothers and families in the perinatal and post-natal period, from primary care options through to acute treatment. “Mothers can receive support through antenatal clinics, Child Health and Parenting Services, and the Perinatal and Infant Mental Health Service,” the spokesperson said. “Mother baby workers are also based in the North and North-West. “Where clinically recommended, a mother can receive inpatient treatment and care for postnatal depression and anxiety at the Mother Baby Unit at the St Helens Private Hospital in Hobart. “The Department of Health, via the Tasmanian Health Service, has an agreement with the Mother Baby Unit for public patients to receive treatment in this facility.” The spokesperson said for families in the North and North-West, a subsidised transport service could be provided to enable access to this service.

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