St John of God drops maternity services

2 minute read

It’s the second time in recent months SJOG has had to shrink its operations.

The struggles of private hospital operator St John of God Health Care continue with the closure of the maternity unit at its hospital in Bunbury, Western Australia.

Maternity services there will cease from 25 June due to chronic staff shortages and a drop in demand which made the service “unsustainable”.

Speaking to the ABC, St John of God chief executive officer Jeffrey Williams said staff shortages had proved to be the service’s biggest challenge.

“Despite our best efforts and intention to bring people to Australia from overseas, we’ve just been really struggling to attract people,” he said.

The private hospital is working with Bunbury Regional Hospital to transition patients across. A total of 96 pregnant women are currently scheduled to have their babies at St John’s.

St John of God would be providing extra maternity beds to the public hospital to help with the transition, said Mr Williams.

He said a recent review of services at the hospital showed a 30% decline in the number of births over the past five years.

“We looked at a number of different options as to how we could continue to deliver the care, but unfortunately the challenge of looking at modified service models like doing things differently, only doing low risk, or only doing one kind of delivery, is just not feasible,” he told the ABC.

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“We have really looked at everything and our only other solution was to look at closure of the service.

“We’ve been working closely with our partners of Bunbury Regional Hospital to ensure that we can support them throughout this transition period and today, we’re working with those mums with a range of personalised information and support to enable them to make decisions about the next steps for them.”

SJOG recently pulled out of its operation of the Hawkesbury Hospital in NSW, a transition back to the NSW Health system which should be completed by 30 June.

Elsewhere SJOG has announced the development of a new private hospital in Perth’s eastern suburbs, approximately 300m from the 307-bed St John of God Midland Public and 60-bed Private Hospital.

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