STILL RAW: Theodore couple Ali De Strange and partner Dylan with their two sons. Ms De Strange had to travel to Gladstone to give birth to her youngest because Theodore was closed and Biloela had no obstetrics for two weeks.
STILL RAW: Theodore couple Ali De Strange and partner Dylan with their two sons. Ms De Strange had to travel to Gladstone to give birth to her youngest because Theodore was closed and Biloela had no obstetrics for two weeks. Contributed

CQ town in national magazine as they battle medical fight

IT may have been four months since a protest took over the town but the small country community of Theodore is still pushing through with its fight to retain its maternity service.

The passionate ralliers have been stepping up their fight for maternity services to be reinstated at the Theodore hospital. Writing letters to all levels of government and gaining media attention wherever they can, their latest feature has been in Take 5 magazine.

Theodore mum Ali De Strange, 25, shared her story of having to drive to Biloela each week for check-ups after she was told she would no longer be able to receive the maternity service in Theodore.

"Just help make people aware of what is going on out here,” she said.

Her story detailed how much it cost her in petrol and the strain it put on her when she already has a two-year-old son.

But then she started having contractions. Going to Biloela like she was forced to, she was then given a rude shock when she found out she had to go Gladstone, 300km away from home. There was no obstetrics in Biloela for two weeks.

'I found it hard to believe that a country like Australia, which provides free health care for all, would treat pregnant women this way,” it said in the article.

Her partner Dylan was hours away at work and only just made it in time for the birth.

Thirteen months on, the whole ordeal is still "raw”.

Theodore woman Ali De Strange shared her horrific story about having to give birth in Gladstone in Take 5 magazine.
Theodore woman Ali De Strange shared her horrific story about having to give birth in Gladstone in Take 5 magazine. Contributed

She, like many other expectant mums and families, would like to see birthing allowed back at Theodore hospital.

"They have the top of the art facilities here, to hear we can't use it, it's frustrating,” Ms De Strange said.

Last month, the lobby group, Friends of Theodore Maternity Services, announced they would be looking into their legal options and were threatening a legal class action.

A spokesperson for the group said their latest focus has been getting involved with Clinical Excellence Queensland's Rural Maternity Taskforce.

The taskforce is aimed at engaging with stakeholders across rural and remote Queensland regarding access to and the safe provision of sustainable women-centred care, to gain an understanding of the issues, concerns and expectations in the community and to enable the development of appropriate recommendations.

A rural maternity forum will be held in Theodore next month.

"It's fitting to have the summit here in Theodore.,which is great. We're in the early stages of planning,” the spokesperson said.

"We want them to come to Theodore, see what we have, what contingency planning we have in place.

Theodore's main street became centre stage for more than one hundred and fifty locals as they chanted passionately,
Theodore's main street became centre stage for more than one hundred and fifty locals as they chanted passionately, "We want choices, hear our voices". The rally was held on Tuesday morning to protest against the Queensland Health's decision to close the town's maternity services. Coulton's Country

"The staff we have and the distances people have to travel to give birth if Theodore stays closed. We want them to see it first hand really.

"We have worked and lobbied them very hard to get them to recognise us. We weren't on their agenda to start with.”

This isn't just some battle and fight, it's a matter of a basic human rights and choice, supporters say.

"We want to promote rural birthing, women have the right to give birth locally,” the spokesperson said.

Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service previously said the reason for the closure was due to safety.

But the group says it should be up to them.

"No one can ever guarantee a outcome, it is women who live with their choices every day.

"There is always risk but it should be women who choose what risks are appropriate. It's them who live with them, not some fool who sits in a government office, they want choices,” the spokesperson said.

Another focus will be a sustainable model of care where expectant mothers will receive one-on-one care throughout their journey, not "20 different doctors”.

Theodore's main street became centre stage for more than one hundred and fifty locals as they chanted passionately,
Theodore's main street became centre stage for more than one hundred and fifty locals as they chanted passionately, "We want choices, hear our voices". The rally was held on Tuesday morning to protest against the Queensland Health's decision to close the town's maternity services. Coulton's Country

HAVE YOUR SAY

Take part in the Queensland Government rural and remote maternity services in Qld

Visit getinvolved.qld .gov.au

Take part in the Queensland Government rural and remote maternity services in Qld

Visit getinvolved.qld .gov.au