Home birth option for Queensland women in 2024
Fraser Barton |
Publicly funded home births will soon be available to Queensland women, bringing the state into line with the rest of mainland Australia.
Health Minister Shannon Fentiman says $1.2 million has been initially allocated to the service, which will start at Sunshine Coast University Hospital from mid-2024.
“This will provide a choice for women and families in Queensland to be able to have their baby at home,” she said on Thursday.
“It is really important, because this is the first time that we are making this service available in the public system, that we do take the time to get it right.”
The announcement comes after years of lobbying from advocates, with the service to be fine tuned on the Sunshine Coast.
“There will be an evaluation to make sure that it is safe and that it is meeting the needs of our mums, and then we’ll take the learnings from that and roll this out to other parts of the state,” she said.
Queensland and Tasmania are the only states currently not offering publicly funded home births which are only available through private practices.
A number of criteria will need to be met to determine whether a publicly funded home birth is suitable for the pregnant woman.
They include health needs, the suitability of the home environment and the distance from a hospital.
The pregnancy must involve only one baby that has reached full term.
Evaluations of the program will assess safety, quality, benefits and feedback before being rolled out across the state.
The Queensland Nurses and Midwives Union welcomed the announcement, saying requests for home births in private health had doubled this year.
“We have seen three commitments this year: midwifery group practices are been extended, we have seen the commitment to a chief midwifery officer, and this is the third significant commitment,” QNMU’s Kate Veach said.
“We are really, really pleased to be talking with the minister and having a state government prepared to take the action needed to improve the maternity system here in Queensland.”AAP