On International Midwives Day 2023, ANMF (Vic Branch) Maternity Services Officer Nicole Allan travelled to Cohuna to share the celebration of the launch of Cohuna District Hospital’s Midwifery Group Practice (MGP).
Based on the template initiated by Dhelkya Health – the new Mount Alexander Shire health service combining the former Castlemaine Health, Maldon Hospital and CHIRP Community Health services – Cohuna is the latest regional maternity service to implement a MGP that will ensure women have continuity of care with a known midwife, or group of midwives, for pregnancy care, birthing and post-natal care.
Other services that have implemented similar models of care include Maryborough with Grampians Health Horsham having completed consultation and recruiting to their model. Since the model was launched in Maryborough, more midwives have been attracted to work in the region, greatly benefitting women in the local community.
Speaking at the recent launch attended by Ms Allan, Cohuna Health’s CEO Bernadette Loughnane said that the program has been brought together by four elements: an available cohort of midwives, a community need, a determined board, and an expert maternity governance group.
As a key stakeholder, ANMF (Vic Branch) has participated in all of the expert governance group committees in the development, consultation and implementation of the models of care, from Dhelkya Health MGP onwards. At the time of writing, we continue to be in varying stages of consultation around MGPs with multiple regional services – including Swan Hill, Benalla and Portland – and are taking every opportunity to engage in conversations promoting continuity-of-care models with all maternity services.
Congratulations to April Jardine
ANMF (Vic Branch) would also like to congratulate registered nurse and midwife April Jardine, who in mid-May won the HESTA Midwife of the Year award for ‘the instrumental role she played in implementing an innovative Midwifery Group Practice model at Dhelkya Health’.
The collaboration and commitment in developing, implementing and evaluating the Dhelkya Health MGP model of care laid the groundwork for other health services across Victoria to embed such models in their workplaces to ensure safe, accessible and sustainable maternity services for their workforces and their community. The Branch, along with Safer Care Victoria, the Department of Health, and midwives, nurses, medical staff and the community have all played pivotal roles.
ANMF also acknowledges the many colleagues at both Castlemaine and Bendigo Health and key stakeholders that have supported the model from its inception to its successful standing today.