Queensland women will continue to have the choice to deliver their babies locally, under the LNP’s plan to restore rural maternity services.

Shadow Health Minister Mark McArdle today moved a motion in Parliament to ensure that mothers-to-be across the state, with low-risk pregnancies, are able to have their children in rural and remote regions.

Mr McArdle will also call on the Palaszczuk Government to commit to further rural services at Charters Towers, Yarrabah, Mossman and Cloncurry.

“We want Queensland to be the best place to live and raise a family, starting from the very moment our newest Queenslanders are born,” he said.

“Reopening of rural hospital birthing services will allow women to give birth close to home, and complements the outstanding ante-natal and post-natal care currently provided by midwifery groups.

“Under this model, midwives work closely with doctors, using national midwifery and best practice guidelines, to ensure safe outcomes for patients.

“Only the LNP has a plan to reopen rural maternity services to better support Queensland mothers-to-be.”

Mr McArdle said low-risk pregnancies were those where the ante-natal period is not complex and where the mother does not have a complex medical and obstetric history. Women with higher risk pregnancies will need to continue accessing specialist care as required.

“Beaudesert Hospital, south of Brisbane, was the first country hospital to have birthing services returned in 2014. Cooktown, from early 2015, was the second,” he said.

“Beaudesert Hospital’s Birthing Unit reopened in March 2014 after it was closed by Labor in 2002.

“Birthing services at Ingham were also closed during Labor’s era of mismanagement which saw Queensland Health descend into chaos.

“It’s expected services in Ingham will reopen in late 2015 allowing up to 80 babies to be born locally.”

Mr McArdle said mothers on Cape York would have something to look forward to with the return of birthing services at Weipa after an absence of nearly 20 years.

“Each year about 180 women travel from these regions to have their babies elsewhere and this plan means they will no longer be forced to unnecessarily leave home to have their babies,” he said.

“I hope that common sense can prevail and the Palaszczuk Labor Government will put politics aside and support this very important motion for Queensland women.”