Boost for regional maternity services in Queensland

Published Monday, 17 July, 2023 at 03:04 PM

Minister for Health, Mental Health and Ambulance Services and Minister for Women
The Honourable Shannon Fentiman

The Palaszczuk Government is introducing five new initiatives to boost maternity services in rural and remote areas to ensure pregnant women in Queensland, regardless of where they live, have access to high-quality maternity care.

The five initiatives:

  • Funding to train 20 GPs in regional, rural and remote areas to complete advanced obstetrics training  
  • New Queensland Health “digital passports” system to help clinicians easily move between hospitals for work, assist with filling workforce gaps
  • Reviewing Queensland Health’s locum policies to maximise incentive options for the regional maternity workforce
  • More funding to train doctors, nurses and midwives on best practice woman-centred care and collaboration
  • Boosting First Nations midwifery models of care services across Hospital and Health Services and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Organisations, under the Growing Deadly Families strategy.

These initial initiatives follow stakeholder feedback from the Ministerial Maternity Roundtable last month, and are part of a broader program of work underway.

Notably, the Government will partner with RANZCOG to support up to 20 GPs and rural generalists to complete an advanced diploma program in obstetrics, which will provide a boost to the number of GP obstetricians services in regional areas.  

The program will be supported by a new mentoring program for rural generalist trainees.

The initiatives have been developed around the four key themes that emerged from the Ministerial Maternity Roundtable: workforce, models of care, collaborative multidisciplinary involvement, and accessible services.  

The new initiatives are part of the Palaszczuk Government’s $42 million investment to boost rural and remote maternity services.

Quotes attributable to Queensland Minister for Health and Ambulance Services Shannon Fentiman:

“I have travelled the state of Queensland to talk to women about maternity services – they’ve said that they want choice, continuity of care, and services closer to home.

“We have also incorporated feedback of our hard-working frontline staff and other stakeholders, at both the Women’s Health Workforce Forum in March and the Ministerial Maternity Roundtable in June.

“We know upskilling our already hard-working GPs will help make a difference for smaller communities, like Cooktown and Biloela.

“While we know we need to grow our own health workforce in the regions, we also need to ensure that we are attracting the best locums to assist our local workforce when needed.

“And boosting our First Nations midwifery models of care will be invaluable.

“We also know workplace culture is essential for providing safe, compassionate birthing services, which is why we will expand staff training under the Authenticity, Leadership, Integrity, Collaboration and Empowerment (ALICE) program, with training for 200 clinicians across 8 HHSs.

“These initial initiatives are crucial and are part of a much broader piece of work we are delivering to ensure women across Queensland can access safe maternity services where and when they need them.”

 Quotes attributable to AMA Queensland President Dr Maria Boulton:

“We welcome the support announced today by the Minister and the news our recommendations have been adopted.

“The Ministerial Maternity Roundtable and five new initiatives are the direct outcomes of our advocacy over the past year to ensure families in these communities have access to fundamental healthcare services and the health workforce is best supported to deliver those services.

“GPs play an integral role in delivering obstetric and anaesthetic services in rural communities.

“This initiative will support a pipeline of GP obstetricians to continue that vital role for rural families.

“Meanwhile, the digital passports AMA Queensland advocated for will give our existing medical workforce the flexibility to fill staffing shortages in other regions and keep maternity and other health services operating.”


Media contacts:

Health Minister’s office - 0431 165 727

AMA - or 0419 735 641