Delivering babies fulfils the romantic image of a country doctor – always on call, tending to deliveries, car crashes, palliative care and day-to-day general practice.
One third of Australians live in rural Australia – and they have families. Delivering in the local community ensures continuity of care, maintenance of family and other support networks – and saves young families from having to relocate to the city for confinement.
Sadly rural obstetric services are under constant threat – closing obstetrics saves the Health Department money – but additional costs for families having to relocate for delivery are not factored into this. Once obstetric services close, small rural towns invariably lose their theatre services (most were 24:7 emLSCS capable), their midwives, their visiting surgical services, their GP-anaesthetists – in fact history shows that obstetric services are pivotal to maintenance of procedural GP services.
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