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Caesarean rates on the rise

A RISE in the number of caesarean births since the opening of the Midland hospital needs to be closely monitored according to a hills-based midwife.

Independent childbirth educator Pip Wynn Owen said the new hospital had recorded a caesarean rate of 27 per cent, up from the 23 per cent recorded at Swan District Hospital.

Swan District Hospital, decommissioned in 2015, recorded the lowest rate of caesarean births in the state, according to figures released in the 2015 WA Department of Health Mother and Baby Report. Mrs Wynn Owen said she hoped Midland Hospital, run by St John of God, did not follow in the footsteps of its big brothers.

“On face value, some might be pleased with a rate of 27 per cent however, it is still an increase and it is still way above the World Health Organisation recommendation of 10 per cent,” she said.

“We need to keep a close eye on these numbers as Midland Public Hospital is run by St John of God whose other hospitals have reported rates of 55.2 per cent at Murdoch, 45.6 per cent in Subiaco, 42.2 per cent in Bunbury, 38.7 per cent in Mt Lawley and 30.4 per cent in Geraldton.

“Hopefully, we will see the other St John of God hospitals looking at Midland and wondering how they can reduce their c-section rates and not the Midland hospital following the trends of its big brothers.”

But St John of God Midland Public Hospital chief executive officer Glen Power said the hospital’s average caesarean rate has ranged from as low as 23 per cent to 26 per cent.

“This is similar to the 26.4 per cent caesarean section rate at Swan District Hospital, as reported in the latest release of the WA Mothers and Babies report,” he said.

“Caesarean sections are performed based on the clinical judgment of the obstetrician to ensure the best medical outcome for the mother and her baby.”

Meanwhile the organisation’s 2015-16 annual report showed the number of births had increased by 14.9 per cent at Midland Hospital. There were 927 babies born at the hospital from November 24, 2015.

By Sarah Brookes

About Sarah Brookes

Sarah is an award-winning journalist (2016 WA Media Awards - Best Three Suburban Newspaper Stories) who has covered our Mundaring and Kalamunda editions since 2011. She went to Eastern Hills Senior High School before studying chemistry and biology at university. Staring down a microscope two years into her degree she realised a future in science wasn’t for her – journalism was. Sarah lived in Europe before re-settling in Darlington, where her family has lived for three generations, with her two children. She has worked for various government agencies and Media Monitors. Sarah is a media junkie who loves talkback radio and devours the weekend papers.

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