ACRRM welcomes new Weipa birthing service

The Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) has welcomed the official opening of birthing services at Weipa, describing it as a breakthrough for local women, their families, and the healthcare profession.

The Weipa Integrated Health Service officially began operating today, Wednesday 22 May, and is expected to initially support around 50 births a year from the communities of Weipa, Mapoon, Napranum and Aurukun.

Community members will tour the facilities on Friday 24 May to see the service first-hand and meet with the healthcare team.

ACRRM President Dr Dan Halliday says providing local mothers the opportunity to give birth closer to home has many social and healthcare benefits.

“As a College, we advocate for the provision of high quality, equitable, culturally safe, woman-centred maternity care which is delivered as close as possible to where women live,” Dr Halliday says.

“There is ample evidence that outcomes for well-managed rural birthing services can be as good, or better, than those in larger centres

“There are also greater risks for mother and baby where there is no or limited access to nearby services.

“As well as alleviating the need to travel long distances from their families to give birth in Cairns, the new Weipa model of care enables local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to have their babies on Country or close to Country.”

Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Western Director of Medical Services Dr John Hall, an ACRRM Rural Generalist, says the Weipa service will also attract a skilled healthcare workforce.

“There is an existing high quality healthcare team in place to open the birthing service in Weipa,“ Dr Hall says.

“Bringing birthing back to Weipa will maintain and attract a skilled workforce that will ensure other hospital-based services thrive and continue like emergency and critical care, and ongoing access to operating theatres, enabling a broad range of operations and specialty services.’’

Dr Halliday adds: “This service will provide access to continuous culturally safe holistic care that is close to home for people living in rural, remote and First Nations communities.

“It will improve health outcomes for mothers and children, which is a target in the National Agreement on Closing the Gap and will ultimately benefit all people living in Weipa and surrounding communities.”


closing the gap, Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine, birthing services, Weipa