Terang and Mortlake Health Service faces having its capacity to deliver babies either reduced or removed

Health Minister Jill Hennessy

Health Minister Jill Hennessy

Terang and Mortlake Health Service faces having its capacity to deliver babies either reduced or removed, it emerged on Friday.

The Standard understands the state government is likely to soon announce a downgrade to the hospital’s maternity capability because of its small number of births.

Terang Hospital, which delivered 16 babies last financial year, has a mid-range level three classification, meaning it can host normal risk pregnancies, elective and emergency caesarians.

But it is understood it will be downgraded to either level two, which would allow it to host normal risk pregnancies, and possibly elective caesarians, or level one, meaning it would have to cease births altogether.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister Jill Hennessy said discussions about the capability levels for Terang and Mortlake Health Service were continuing.

Those talks come after the state government commissioned a review into Victorian hospitals’ maternity services following a cluster of baby deaths at Bacchus Marsh.

Terang and Mortlake Health Service chief executive officer Margaret White was incensed with speculation about the future of its maternity operations, saying nothing had been decided.

“There’s been no decision to cease birthing services in Terang at the moment and we need to reassure the community that we’re functioning at our normal level,” she said.

“We’re working within our framework and we’re providing a safe service.”

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