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Safety Fears on Maternity Wards As They Reach ‘Breaking Point’

Understaffing is putting mothers and babies at risk

Maternity wards are reaching “breaking point” in NSW, the state opposition has warned.

Labor health spokesperson Walt Secord told The Australian that staffing issues meant the risks facing mothers and babies was unacceptable. After cuts to health funding, together with population growth, there is a shortage of nurses in hospitals across NSW.

Mr Secord’s warning comes after a NSW Supreme Court case that found South Western Sydney Local Health District was guilty of breaching duty of care by failing to give a patient a caesarean delivery when it was required in 2008. 

The child is now severely disabled as a result, requiring lifetime care because of oxygen deprivation during the birth at Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital.

“Doctors will tell you it is dangerous to delay a caesarean,” he said. “Giving birth should be a time of joy and delaying a caesarean just adds to the stress. Clinical mistakes happen when a hospital is overstretched, under-resourced and understaffed.”

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