A Western NSW Local Health District team which goes out of its way to care for hundreds of pregnant women in rural and remote towns has been asked to take a bow.
The Dubbo-based Rural Maternity Service (RMS) was awarded the title of 2019 Nursing/Midwifery Team of the Year at a health district leadership forum in Dubbo.
The health district reports the RMS offers women in rural and remote locations "access to a midwife within their home town".
"It allows women to stay within their local community to receive care which reduces the costs to the families, reduces travel, increases engagement and improves health outcomes for both the woman and her baby," executive director quality, clinical safety and midwifery Adrian Fahy said.
RMS team members, manager maternity and children's strategies Alison Loudon, and clinical midwifery consultant Tammy O'Connor, have been the driving force behind its bid to "fill gaps" in antenatal care in places such as Bourke, Lightning Ridge and Walgett.
The team also includes outreach midwives, care navigators at Dubbo and Orange hospitals, an obstetrician, nurse educator, and community midwives and Aboriginal health workers in rural and remote towns.
It provides "culturally-safe" care for about 500 pregnant women a year.
"We do it in a variety of ways," Ms Loudon said.
"Sometimes there are midwives already employed in their communities.
"We support them and link them into the birthing site. In other places like Lightning Ridge we run a clinic. We also conduct videoconferencing consultations if we need to so women don't have to travel to see an obstetrician."
Ms Loudon said care navigators helped women with "anything they require" when the time came to travel to Dubbo and Orange to give birth.
She said the team also attended to women's social needs when necessary.
"We assist them through the maze of social and health services," Ms Loudon said.
She said "very motivated" team members travelled up to 400 kilometres to reach mothers-to-be.
"We're very fortunate to have such a great team of midwives and health workers," Ms Loudon said.
"Otherwise, we wouldn't be able to achieve what we do."