ROAD-SIDE BABY: Miles woman, Amanda Allen says she was ten minutes away from delivering her daughter Lacey on the side of the Warrego Highway.
ROAD-SIDE BABY: Miles woman, Amanda Allen says she was ten minutes away from delivering her daughter Lacey on the side of the Warrego Highway. Kate McCormack

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: mothers demand an end to roadside births

WITH the Dalby Hospital still 10 minutes down the road, Amanda Allen's body began to reach the final stages of labour.

The mother from Miles had already felt her waters break as her husband sped through Warra and within a couple of minutes she was convinced her third daughter was going to be born on the side of the Warrego Highway.

"That was my biggest fear throughout my entire pregnancy, that I was going to end up giving birth on the side of the road," Ms Allen said.

"When you're living off one wage you don't have the money to set yourself up in a motel for what could end up being weeks of waiting for your delivery," she said.

"I also had to keep my two other daughters in mind. I can't be disrupting their routine, carting them off to a town two hours away.

"Right now the system is failing us and it's time something was done about it."

Six weeks down the track and both mum and baby are doing fine after barely making it to the Dalby Hospital for the final few pushes as little Lacey was brought into the world.

Ms Allen is well aware how close she came to delivering her daughter miles away from the help of a trained medical expert and she is not alone in her experience.

Roadside births soar after ward closures

With 40 maternity units being closed down over the last few decades the fear of having to deliver a child on the side of the road has been all too real for rural women throughout Queensland.

Regional and rural women are forced to travel up to several hours to deliver their children in an era that is being dubbed by experts as a "maternity crisis".

Health Minister Steven Miles says mums will finally be heard in far-reaching reforms brought on after Newscorp highlighted the fallout in parts of regional Queensland where health bureaucrats had closed or mothballed maternity sections - including Chinchilla.

This week Mr Miles put an end to decades of closures that have seen dozens of birthing units scrapped and the number of babies born beside country roads soar.

Ahead of the Rural Maternity Taskforce Summit in Cairns, Mr Miles said health service planning has been too focused on clinical risk.

He says the future will put emphasis on mothers' preferences to deliver close to home. Mr Miles set up the taskforce following Newscorp's first report that almost four times more babies were dying in areas where maternity units had closed compared to rural areas with obstetrics.

The report also revealed that babies in remote areas were 65 per cent more likely to die than those born in cities.

Mr Miles said he would draw a line under further reductions in services by requiring hospital services to secure special ministerial approval for planned changes.

Changes in the works for Chinchilla Hospital

THE Queensland government has announced a new fund for bush midwives and doctors to rotate through metropolitan hospitals in a bid to lure and keep more clinicians in rural hospitals.

It is one of several actions Mr Miles will introduce in response to the Rural Maternity Taskforce report.

"One of the challenges for health services is offering services in towns where there is a very low number of births, it's very hard to keep your skills current," Mr Miles said.

"We are proposing a trial where, for example, a midwife from Chinchilla could spend a few weeks a year living and working in Toowoomba or the Gold Coast or even Melbourne to make sure they see enough births Mr Miles said $500,000 would be allocated to the trial, which could be expanded if popular.

Chief Executive Darling Downs Health, Dr Peter Gillies said they have been able to successfully recruit an additional two midwives to the Chinchilla Hospital after recruiting a first back in April this year.

"We are working towards birthing with a Midwifery Group Practice at the Chinchilla Hospital and to make this safe we need four midwives," Dr Gillies said.

"This first stage will see mothers receive continuity of care from a known midwife during their pregnancy, child birth at Dalby Hospital, and in the early weeks at home with their baby.

"The next stage of the Midwifery Group Practice will be to provide low-risk birthing at the Chinchilla Hospital with support from the medical team.

At a community forum held last year, DDHHS claim the feedback from mothers suggested they wanted a Midwifery Group Practice with continuity of care.

"We've listened and will provide a birthing service at the Chinchilla Hospital but with high-risk births and mums needing emergency caesarean will still require transferal to the Dalby Hospital."

Fighting to re-open Chinchilla's ward

Warrego MP Ann Leahy is determined to have the Chinchilla maternity ward reopened and wants to see Mr Miles deliver on his promise.

The long-time MP said she is appalled at the conditions Western Downs women are being forced to deliver in and is shocked the new state budget hasn't allocated any funds to rectify the situation.

"I am very disappointed the State Government's budget doesn't include any financial plans to reopen the 26 rural maternity units that have been slowly closed by the Labor government," Ms Leahy said.

"I'm passionate about re-opening Chinchilla's maternity ward.

"I know it can be done because the LNP were able to achieve this when they were in government.

"I am urging the the state health minister to start acting on his promises. It's time we saw action," she said.

Minister for health, Steven Miles has announced a new fund to allow bush midwives and doctors to rotate through bigger hospitals to keep their skills current will be established in a bid to lure and keep more clinicians in bush hospitals.

It is one of several actions Mr Miles will introduce in response to the Rural Maternity Taskforce report.

"One of the challenges for health services is offering services in towns where there is a very low number of births, it's very hard to keep your skills current," Mr Miles said.

"We are proposing a trial where, for example, a midwife from Chinchilla could spend a few weeks a year living and working in Toowoomba or the Gold Coast or even Melbourne to make sure they see enough births.

Mr Miles said $500,000 would be allocated to the trial, which could be expanded if popular.