Taskforce to review rural births as Minister dismisses ‘skewed’ data

Updated August 12, 2018 16:25:46

Queensland’s Health Minister has defended the state of maternity services in rural and remote areas, while announcing an expert taskforce will review data on newborn deaths.

It comes amid community backlash over the closure of the birthing centre at Theodore in central Queensland.

Health Minister Steven Miles said data published in the Sunday Mail which appeared to show a higher mortality rate for newborns in areas without birthing services was inevitable.

“The births that occur in those towns without birthing services are by and large emergency births and by their very nature are much risker,” Mr Miles said.

“Comparing those to planned and emergency births in other centres will give you a skewed perspective.”

Mr Miles said Queensland was a safe place to give birth.

“If you’re having a baby here in Queensland it is as safe, if not safer, than anywhere in the country or the world,” he said.

He said he was re-convening a maternity taskforce to analyse the data.

Photo: Newborn baby. 15 January 2016. (ABC News: Gregor Salmon)

“I’d like the taskforce to look at this data, because I’m worried that this data is being used to cause undue community concern,” he said.

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