Last week, concerns for patient and staff safety, from nurses and midwives working at Blacktown Hospital, escalated to the point where industrial action was reportedly taken by more than 150 staff members.

The escalation of concerns was subsequent to an investigation into the fifth neonatal death at Blacktown Hospital within two years and about 20 obstetricians threatening to resign.

There has been a complaint made to the NSW Health Minister which includes issues of understaffing, under resourcing and specifically a “lack of access to operating theatres for caesarean births”.

Dr Gina Pecoraro, National Association of Specialist Obstetricians and Gynaecologists President has indicated that the Blacktown Hospital fiasco is a part of an Australia-wide problem with respect to resourcing for public maternity services as a result of unaffordability of private treatment and “undervaluing women’s health services“. Dr Pecoraro also warns of the impact on rural women, as lack of demand for private treatment leads to the closure of private maternity services. This means that women will have to travel significant distances to give birth and “…you’ll start to hear about more and more people having to stop by the side of the road to have babies…”.

As medical negligence lawyers, we have heard many tragic stories from our clients including situations where a delay in delivery has led to either the death of a baby or significant injuries including cerebral palsy. We are particularly concerned about the lack of access to operating theatres for caesareans because in many cases, if a caesarean was performed in a timely manner than the injuries may well have been avoided.

If you or someone you know has received poor medical treatment at Blacktown Hospital, please call Sally Gleeson, Partner on 02 8222 3333.

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