Birth of new medical plan

A CLAIM new mums are being sent home early from the Wodonga maternity unit to make room for other surgical and medical patients warrants questions that have been raised with Albury Wodonga Health.

Health service chief Sue O’Neill says while non-maternity patients are being given beds in the unit, this has had no impact on staff or patients, and maternity stays had increased in the past year.

The anonymous staff member who has spoken to The Border Mail says nurses are being encouraged to send new mums home as quickly as possible and maternity staff were increasingly being called upon to care for medical or surgical patients.

The Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation says it is aware of the concerns of some of its members, but it is not commenting.

The staff member also expressed concerns about the potential for hospital-borne infections spreading from medical and surgical patients to mums and infants in the maternity unit.

Ms O’Neill says the service is managing 10 of the unit’s 30 beds to care for non-maternity patients as needed, with appropriate staff, and utilising the unit for serious cases is not usual practice.