An embattled Portland hospital has a new maternity coordinator five months after its birthing services were abruptly paused, forcing one woman to give birth on the side of the road.
Former director of maternity at Western Health Sue Sweeney has been employed on a six-month secondment at Portland District Health.
The health service ceased operating its maternity unit for a three-month period in March but extended that to September after failing to acquire a sufficient number of midwives.
That decision left an additional 10 women scheduled to give birth in limbo.
Ms Sweeney said the purpose of her appointment was to reinstate the birthing service.
"My role will be to implement a new operational model of maternity care that is being developed and share my expertise and experience to assist to safely resume this important service," she said.
The former director will be required to oversee an expansion of the clinical audit committee to review any adverse events, connect with Safer Care Victoria to ensure the hospital has up-to-date data and review culture and accountability at the health service provider.
She said her appointment had already spurred change.
"Now my position has been filled and they have someone to advocate for midwifery practice and lead them forward, there have been expressions of interest from previous staff who had moved to Warrnambool and we have midwives who have taken on extra hours."
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