ABOUT 24 hours after giving birth to baby Hugo at the Warrnambool Base Hospital, Zoe Stevens was transferred to St John of God Warrnambool Hospital for post-natal care.
The post-natal care program was introduced after St John of God earlier this year was forced to stop delivering babies due to a national shortage of obstetricians willing to practice privately in regional and rural areas.
However, privately insured women giving birth at Warrnambool Base Hospital and other public hospitals in the south-west region can elect to be transferred within 12-24 hours of giving birth to St John of God for post-natal care.
Ms Stevens and her partner Stephen Phillpot had their first two children, Cooper and Max, at St John of God and wanted to continue their link with the hospital.
After having a caesarian on Monday, Ms Stevens was moved to St John of God Hospital 24 hours later.
She said Warrnambool was lucky to have two high quality hospitals and she was grateful to have the choice of where she would have post-natal care.
“Given I’d already had the experience here, I wanted to have the same experience for my last (baby),” she said.
“I was so relieved when I knew I could still come here.
“I already knew the level of care I would receive and wanted to be assured of having a private room.
“I had a really good experience before with very professional support and wanted to come back to what I know.
“We are lucky to have two top class facilities in Warrnambool so people should take advantage of both if they can.”
The couple said the decision to move to St John of God was not a negative reflection on the base hospital.
“The staff at both hospitals have been fantastic and it was easy to make the move,” Ms Stevens said.
“The two services at each hospital complement each other,” Mr Phillpot said.
St John of God chief executive Glyn Palmer said the service continued the hospital’s support for local women and complemented the excellent services provided at South West Healthcare.
“We acknowledge that being forced to close our birthing service has put additional pressure on South West Healthcare and we hope that this post-natal service will give new mums and babies the opportunity to experience the care and support we can offer,” Mr Palmer said.
The hospital had been delivering babies for 73 years.
The post-natal service is supported by qualified midwives and includes breastfeeding, baby care, parent education, lactation consultant, physiotherapy one-on-one visits, sleep and settling support, a private room with ensuite and the Raphael Centre that provides support to parents for up to four years.