Improving access to Canberra’s public maternity system

Women across Canberra will soon be able to access a new, streamlined, territory-wide service to help them find the best maternity care for them. Canberra Maternity Options will provide women with easier access to information and improved support.

Minister for Health Rachel Stephen-Smith said the service aimed to provide more support to women, by helping them understand what options are available to them through the public maternity system.

“For many first-time parents, learning you are having a baby is an exciting and happy time. It can also be quite overwhelming, it isn’t always clear what new parents should do when they first find out they are expecting a baby.

“The new Canberra Maternity Options single-entry-point service will help women to understand their options before making an informed decision on what pregnancy and birthing care would best suit them and their family,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

Canberra Maternity Options provides easier access to information and improved support closer to home. A midwife will now meet with women earlier in their pregnancy to ensure they get the right information and care, at the right time, as close to home as possible.

Under the new and improved system, women will:

  • call a single-entry-point phone number to arrange their first appointment with a midwife
  • book an appointment with a GP for early pregnancy care
  • meet with a midwife in a community centre close to home to talk about public pregnancy and birthing options available in Canberra, as well as their health care needs, personal preferences and complete a health and wellbeing assessment
  • receive improved ongoing local support before, during and after pregnancy.

Canberra Maternity Options has been shaped by extensive feedback received through consultation with mothers, mothers-to-be, health practitioners, GP’s and the broader community.

Through this consultation we heard women and their families wanted easier access to maternity services. 93% of people said a single phone number would make it easier for them to access services, 86% said it would be very important to meet with a midwife early in their pregnancy to discuss birthing options available through the public system.

“The Canberra Maternity Options is an example of our commitment to providing accessible healthcare for all Canberrans as close to home as possible,” said Minister Stephen-Smith.

Canberra Maternity Options launches on Monday 30 September 2019.

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