Mapping Maternity Services In Australia: Location, Classification And Services

Csiro Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Australian Health Review, 2011, 35 (2), pp. 222 - 229
Issue Date:
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Abstract Objective. To describe maternity services available to Australian women and, in particular, the location, classification of services and support services available. Design. A descriptive study was conducted using an online survey that was emailed to eligible hospitals. Inclusion criteria for the study included public and private maternity units with greater than 50 births per year. In total, 278 maternity units were identified. Units were asked to classify their level of acuity (Levels 26). Results. A total of 150 (53%) maternity units responded. Those who responded were reasonably similar to those who did not respond, and were representative of Australian maternity units. Almost three-quarters of respondents were from public maternity units and almost 70% defined themselves as being in a rural or remote location. Maternity units with higher birth rates were more likely to classify themselves as providing higher acuity services, that is, Levels 5 and 6. Private maternity units were more likely to have higher acuity classifications. Interventions such as induction of labour, either using an artificial rupture of membranes (ARM) and oxytocin infusion or with prostaglandins, were common across most units. Although electronic fetal monitoring (EFM) was also widely available, access to fetal scalp pH monitoring was low. Conclusion. Maternity service provision varies across the country and is defined predominately by location and annual birth rate.
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