Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

Families across the state will benefit from a new initiative to enhance pregnancy care for women and their babies.

Minister for Health Ryan Park announced today the new Pregnancy Connect initiative will focus on improving early access to specialist maternity care, particularly for women in regional and rural NSW. 

The announcement coincides with the First 2000 Days 2024 Symposium, hosted by NSW Health to explore the importance of a child’s early life experience from conception to age five.

Minister Park said the NSW Government is committed to building a healthy foundation that lasts a lifetime.

“We know that the first 2000 days of a child’s life is a critical time for physical, cognitive, social and emotional health with a flow on impact throughout their life.”

“Through Pregnancy Connect, we will improve access to specialist care close to home for women during pregnancy.”

Women who are identified as having the greatest risks to their health and wellbeing during pregnancy will be actively connected to antenatal care early and regularly.

This will include increased use of virtual care services and the safe transfer of women who require higher levels of care, to reduce the sense of dislocation often experienced by women and their families in this situation.

Recruitment is underway for 12 full time equivalent midwives and 8 full time equivalent obstetricians to lead the program. This will improve support for existing regional and rural maternity clinicians, with a team of specialist obstetricians that they can call on for advice – this will also reduce the sense of isolation for staff.

Minister Park will announce the initiative at the First 2000 Days 2024 Symposium today. The symposium is an opportunity for knowledge sharing and collaboration among NSW Health professionals and research as well as government agency partners, to ensure all NSW children and their families have what they need to thrive.

Another key focus of the symposium is ensuring consumer voices are reflected in designing and delivering services. This includes women with lived experience, Aboriginal families and families in regional areas.

“This initiative is an investment in our midwifery and obstetric workforce and will see a boost to staff numbers in every local health district.

“By working together and directing our efforts to better support children and their families, we can make a big difference and improve long term health outcomes for everyone.”

Pregnancy Connect will be supported by an ongoing annual investment of $6.19 million.

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