I rise to stand up for the magnificent doctors, midwives and nurses at Epworth Geelong’s maternity service – and the thousands of women and families who have relied on this vital service since 2016.
They have been abandoned – by their local Labor MPs, by the Albanese and Andrews Labor governments, by a lacklustre nurses’ union and by Epworth’s cold-hearted management.
Given the tens of millions of dollars that Epworth Geelong received in state and federal funding including to help build a full-service hospital, the closure of the maternity unit constitutes a real betrayal of our community.
I condemn the appalling lack of action and lack of compassion from the member for Corio and the member for Corangamite in the other place who stood idly by as women and families pleaded for help. Their failure to do anything is appalling.
Our public hospital system depends on a strong private health system – and as Senator Ruston has made clear after we met with Epworth management, Labor’s health minister has a workforce crisis on his hands – and rather than working with his state counterparts, he is leaving regional communities high and dry including the people of Geelong.
In the fastest growing region in the country, we cannot afford to lose any health services, public or private, especially as State Labor has put the Barwon Women and Children’s facility on the backburner.
I also condemn Epworth, driven by cost cutting, which ran a sham consultation and recruitment process to justify closing its maternity unit – so seriously misleading its two obstetric practices based there that this could constitue a breach of the law. That’s why I have reported Epworth to the ACCC.
I congratulate my Liberal parliamentary colleagues who’ve stood up for Epworth – if we had been in power this never would have happened.
Labor and Epworth, hang your heads in shame.