Women living in western Cape York communities will be able to give birth closer to home next year, with work underway on a new $25 million birthing unit in Weipa.
Health and Ambulance Services Minister Yvette D’Ath said a low-risk birthing unit was expected to be operational at the Weipa Integrated Health Service by the end of 2021, creating more than a dozen construction and health jobs.
“Families in the western Cape region deserve the best care we can provide,” she said.
“This new birthing unit will mean expectant women in these communities will not have to travel to Cairns to have their babies. They can have their babies closer to home, which we know is a preference among First Nations women.”
Member for Cook Cynthia Cook said two doctors, five midwives and up to two health workers would be recruited to staff the unit.
“There will also be increases in the number of operational, administrative and allied health staffing to support the new birthing service,” she said.
“The unit will deliver up to 70 babies a year, servicing Cape communities including Weipa, Aurukun, Coen, Kowanyama, Lockhart River, Mapoon and Pormpuraaw. Women with higher risk pregnancies will continue to travel to Cairns.
“Work is currently under way at the hospital to relocate and centralise a number of services and create space for the birthing unit.”
A total of $900,000 will then be spent next year on installing the birthing unit.