Sunday, May 11, 2008

Pregnant women 'lie' to get hospital beds

DESPERATE pregnant women are using fake addresses so they can give birth at Melbourne's leading maternity hospitals.

The Royal Women's and Mercy hospitals and Monash Medical Centre are sending women who are not from their areas and who do not anticipate complications elsewhere.
The hospitals say they want to keep the beds for at-risk patients.
Hundreds of mothers from Melbourne's northwest suburbs have launched a protest against the Brumby Government, saying they are being shortchanged.
Since October, mothers from Coolaroo, Craigieburn, Roxburgh Park and Meadow Heights have automatically been referred from the Royal Women's to the Northern Hospital in Epping if their pregnancy was expected to be straight forward.
The state's other top level maternity wards - Mercy Hospital for Women and Monash Medical Centre - also direct women with uncomplicated pregnancies to local hospitals.
Women have lied to secure a bed at the highly regarded Women's.
One pregnant woman, who asked not to be named, said she was scared to go to the Northern Hospital because she had suffered a miscarriage there.
She had used a friend's address to get a booking at the Royal Women's.
Protest group Fair Go For Hume has bombarded Premier John Brumby with more than 460 complaints.
Royal Women's Hospital spokeswoman Mandy Frostick said births at the hospital had jumped from 4600 in 2001 to 6500 last year.
She said the hospital had to send women with low-risk pregnancies from the northern suburbs to the Northern Hospital.
Mercy chief Stephen Cornelissen said it had a duty to care for mothers with "more complex" needs.
A Monash spokeswoman said they shared pregnancies between themselves, Casey and Dandenong, depending on circumstances.
Northern Hospital maternity director Hammish Manning said they offered high-quality care.


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