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COHUNA ON THE WAR PATH

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November 15, 2017

BY KIMBERLEY PRICE

A DECISION to suspend obstetrics at Cohuna District Hospital has left the community outraged.

And late this afternoon the Rural Doctors Associations of Victoria and Australia condemned the Victorian Health Department's decision to "temporarily bypass" Cohuna directing pregnant women to Echuca, Swan Hill and Bendigo.

Both associations fear the decision is the first step towards shutting down yet another small country hospital.

The hospital has been put on birthing bypass indefinitely by Echuca Hospital management, leaving 47 expecting mothers with no place to give birth.

With only 12 hours notice, more than 250 loyal residents gathered at the Garden Park this morning to voice their concerns about the repercussions of the decision and the long-term effects for the community.

GP Dr Peter Barker addressed the crowds.

‘‘We have managed well for decades and not failed a mother yet,’’ he said.

‘‘To be delivered the blow we received this week was unfortunate and unnecessary.

‘‘When you remove consultation, when you ignore the role of the board, when you make unilateral decisions, you panic the community and you end up letting down those who are relying upon you most.

‘‘This action is unjust and I ask them to reverse their directive, giving mothers the peace and confidence they deserve.’’

More to come in Friday’s Riverine Herald.

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