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Hospitals 05 May 2023

Delivering better maternity facilities

On International Day of the Midwife, 5 May 2023, we’re acknowledging the hard work and incredible contribution to maternal and newborn health that midwives play. As midwife Carmel Brophy explains, working in maternity is never dull.

For those working in the maternity unit of Goulburn Valley Health’s (GVH) Shepparton Hospital, no two days are the same.

Midwives are healthcare professionals who provide comprehensive care to women during pregnancy, childbirth, and the post-delivery period. They also provide care to newborns during the first 28 days of life. Midwives play a crucial role in promoting maternal and newborn health and reducing maternal and newborn mortality rates.

GVH Senior Midwife Carmel Brophy says the maternity unit is a bit like an emergency department. Arrivals are unpredictable, a patient’s condition can change in a flash and emotions are heightened.

As part of a $229.3 million redevelopment, GVH Shepparton has recently opened a new women and children’s precinct. It brings together a 12-bed maternity unit, a 10-cot special care nursery and a 12-bed paediatric ward. This means world-class facilities are available closer to home for Goulburn Valley families.

Both parents can stay with their newborns

Times have changed since families have had to travel away from home or be separated from sick babies requiring special care. The new maternity ward now means both parents or carers can stay together and adjust in the momentous days after birth as the special care nursery is nearby.

There’s also a spacious new area where families can gather, and visitors can spend time with new parents. And more changes are on the way as the hospital will soon offer a water birth option.

More space means more possibilities 

Headshot of Carmel Brophy,  Senior Midwife at GVH Shepparton. She has blonde hair to her shoulders. She is wearing a white sleeveless topy and a blue lanyard.

‘We can now offer family-centred care in a redeveloped area. We also have dedicated rooms for COVID-19 management if required.’

Carmel Brophy, Senior Midwife at GVH Shepparton Hospital

‘(The expansion) has enabled there to be more spaces where doctors and midwives can work together and increase collaborative care,’ says Ms Brophy.

‘The paediatric team is also on the same level (now) which is important when caring for a sick newborn who may need additional support.’

Even after 15 years as a midwife, it’s not surprising Ms Brophy still says her favourite thing about working in maternity is caring for the women and families in her community and sharing the joy of ‘being there to support and be a part of bringing a new life into the world’.

Learn more about the Goulburn Valley Health – Shepparton Hospital redevelopment via our dedicated project page.

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Last updated: 05 May 2023