Maternity action group and administration nut out terms of reference for consumer engagement

Midwife movement: A meeting held on Thursday between hospital administration and the local midwife action group has put the first pieces in place to set up a community engagement panel.

Midwife movement: A meeting held on Thursday between hospital administration and the local midwife action group has put the first pieces in place to set up a community engagement panel.

The first pieces have been put in place for the soon-to-be formed Tamworth maternity services consumer engagement committee.

The committee is being formed as part of the fall-out from Hunter New England Health’s shock decision to suspend the Community Midwife Program last month.

Members from the local action group met with HNEH and Tamworth Hospital administration on Thursday, to put the first building blocks in place to ensure the community remains in the loop in all future decisions regarding both the core and community services.

Friends of Tamworth Maternity Services organiser Sam Wibberley and former community midwife Katy O’Neill represented concerned mothers and citizens at the meeting, and are hoping to get a good response to the formation of the new panel.

“It is not all set in stone yet, but at the moment it looks like the committee will be made up of about 12 people,” Mrs Wibberley said.

“There will be representation from management, representation from a midwife from the core service and the community service, which is great, as well as five consumer representatives.” 

“The ad for the consumer representatives is being drafted, and will go out on various streams, hopefully next week.” 

It is hoped that the five members will be made up of at least one person that comes from an area outside of Tamworth that is serviced by the Tamworth Hospital such as Manilla, Quirindi, or Werris Creek, as well as “include some members from different cultural backgrounds to get a true representation of the needs of our community.” 

The terms of reference and meeting periods were also discussed at the meeting, but are yet to be confirmed with negotiations ongoing.

“Obviously this started because we want to see the CMP open the books again and continue to run, but we hope the committee can help improve our maternity services as a whole,” Mrs Wibberley said.

“We would also like to look at the services we are lacking or falling short in, such as home births and access to water births.

“It is not just a Tamworth thing, this is important for every community.

“We want to see more options and improvements, and know that mothers have the full range of available services and that consumers are happy.” 

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