Why aren't Bowen babies born in Bowen?
GIVING birth to the miracle of life is an amazing experience, and not just for the new beaming parents. It's a celebration for the entire community.
Which has left the community raising the question over social media: Why aren't Bowen babies born in Bowen?
Bowen has a functioning modern public hospital, but local expectant mothers must travel 50 minutes to Proserpine Hospital, one hour and 20 minutes to the hospital in Ayr, or two-and-a-half hours to Townsville.
Although cases like Bowen mother Lydia Kirk, who gave birth on the side of the Bruce Highway as she and partner Chris Broucek dashed from Bowen to Proserpine, are rare, the spontaneous birth might have been avoided had Bowen Hospital catered for births.
Mackay Hospital and Health Service chief executive Jo Whitehead said Bowen Hospital offers maternity services through continuity of care for local women by providing antenatal and postnatal care, home visits post birth and a weekly drop-in-clinic for mothers and babies.
"The hospital works closely with Proserpine Hospital, approximately 66km away, to provide a collaborative, safe and sustainable birthing service for the Whitsunday community,” Ms Whitehead said.
"Bowen Hospital has also recently increased services for mothers with the start of a visiting dietetic service and the employment of a qualified diabetic educator/midwife.
"Mackay HHS is committed to providing rural clinical services as close to home as possible if it is clinically safe to do so.
"Mackay Hospital and Health Service does not have the infrastructure, staff or skill mix to offer birthing at Bowen Hospital.”