Independent Member for Shepparton District Suzanna Sheed has called on both levels of government to invest in perinatal services.
The federal government has written to the state’s health ministers to advise them it will no longer fund the National Perinatal Depression Initiative, which has been in place since 2008.
It allows for screening and, if needed counselling, for thousands of new parents struggling with depression or anxiety before or after the birth of a child.
Goulburn Valley Health’s Perinatal Emotional Health Program, which has identified and helped approximately 300 women suffering pre and post natal depression in the past two years, will cease on Friday unless funding is forthcoming.
“There is a dearth of perinatal services in the Shepparton District,” Ms Sheed said.
“To cut this program that provides vital support to vulnerable mothers and babies is especially cruel.
“I urge the Abbott Government to reinvest in this service immediately.”
Ms Sheed said it was a blow to the regions early parenting services, with a dedicated parent baby unit yet to be funded by the state government.
“We need a dedicated residential service that caters for the very particular needs of mothers and children,” she said.
“Our community has been fighting for a parent baby unit for more than a decade. The model has been designed following extensive community consultation and the consultant’s report has been prepared. The GV Health Foundation has the money for the capital works but we still can’t get a commitment from the state government.”
26 June 2015