Calls for mother and baby unit in Shepparton continue

By Morgan Dyer

The need for a mother and baby unit to be immediately funded in the area is “obvious”, according to Liberal Member for Northern Victoria Wendy Lovell.

Having long called for a facility to be built to help new mothers and their families cope with the arrival of a newborn, Ms Lovell restated her concern in state parliament last week.

Ms Lovell said research had found 15 per cent of all new mothers in the region experienced a mild to moderate form of post-natal depression.

“The evidence is overwhelming for the need for a mother and baby unit in Shepparton to be established in partnership with GV Health,” Ms Lovell said.

“The Andrews Labor Government must stop ignoring the health needs of the Goulburn Valley community and provide immediate funding to deliver such a facility in Shepparton.”

However, GV Health chief executive Matt Sharp said the hospital had been working on a proposal for a facility of this kind for nearly 12 months.

“GV Health is working with partner organisations regarding a concept design for a proposed mother and baby unit in Shepparton so as to provide the state government with a proposal for this project,” Mr Sharp said.

“We will continue to work with the state government to ensure that the best possible care is provided to the Goulburn Valley community,” he said.

Last November, the Liberal/National Coalition made an election commitment to provide $10 million to establish a five-bed residential mother and baby unit in Shepparton.

Victorian Mental Health Minister Martin Foley said he understood there was more to be done to support parents.

“The challenges of being a new parent are significant, and with around one in 10 women experiencing perinatal mental illness we know there’s more to be done in supporting them,” he said.


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