The recent expansion of antenatal services at the Gold Coast University Hospital has allowed for Gold Coast mothers to receive vital care for their premature babies closer to home.

Gold Coast University hospital expansion

Additional cots have been added to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and the commencement of a tertiary Maternal Foetal Medicine service has allowed for more effective care to be provided to Gold Coast babies born from 26 weeks gestation, reducing need for parents to travel to Brisbane with their babies for specialised care and treatment.

No need to travel to Brisbane any longer

The expansion at the Gold Coast University Hospital has represented a significant outcome for Gold Coast parents. Particularly due to the fact that parents will now undertake less travel time while their children are receiving care, enabling parents to remain close to their home environment and support network, which is a positive community outcome.

Since March 2014, the Maternal Foetal Medicine Service has seen over 400 pregnant Gold Coast women, who would have otherwise had to travel to Brisbane to receive some, or all, of their antenatal care. Since the hospital expansion, eight babies born at 27 weeks have had access to the new services on the Gold Coast, with 500 babies also receiving care within the Gold Coast Newborn Care Unit.

Parent Pack information at the hospital

In addition to this, from May 2014, all parents who leave the Gold Coast University Hospital have received a specialised Parent Pack. This pack has been put together as an informative resource for parents, which provides information about free and low cost activities and groups available on the Gold Coast, such as stroller groups and library programs. The Parent Pack also contains further information concerning medical and community services available to Gold Coast families and important phone numbers for new parents. It is expected that 5,000 babies will be born at the Gold Coast University Hospital this year and the provision of a Parent Pack will be a valuable resource for all new parents on the Gold Coast.

Minister for Health, Mr Springborg, has also recently announced that Queensland mums can still access the Mums and Bubs Program, which was introduced last year. To date, this program has helped more than 34,000 mums around the state in the weeks after their baby is born, with 12,000 home visits being provided to Gold Coast babies under this service. The Mum and Bubs Program involves a midwife attending parents homes within the first seven days after birth and further home services also being made available during the second and fourth weeks following birth. The home-based visits serve to provide parents with information across a broad range of topics including immunisation, sleep, breastfeeding, nutrition, child growth and development, and safe environments.

Children Critical Care Unit

Another important service introduced at the Gold Coast University Hospital this year is the Children’s Critical Care Unit. This unit was created to benefit critically ill children, with paediatric staff at the Gold Coast University Hospital expecting to treat more than 200 patients within the first year of operation.

The Gold Coast Children’s Critical Care Unit currently provides four high dependency beds for children from birth to 16 years of age, who require special intensive care due to illness, accident, or following a procedure. This unit accepts patients from all Gold Coast areas, including northern New South Wales.