SOUTH Gippsland Hospital Auxiliary members, hospital staff, board members, new mothers and community members gathered for a celebratory morning tea at the community health centre on Monday.
The celebrations were for the official unveiling of the new CTG (cardiotocograph) machine, purchased with $41,000 raised by the auxiliary and already in use in antenatal care at the hospital to monitor foetal heartbeats.
Acting Maternity Manager Lauren Staley expressed her thanks to the auxiliary, on behalf of the hospital, for the enormous sum raised.
“This is an amazing amount of money to receive from our community. It has allowed us to upgrade an old machine with a new state-of-the-art machine. We are rapt with the new machine and have used it already,” she said.
Auxiliary treasurer Val Hutcheson said the money was raised through morning coffees, catering jobs and raffles held by the auxiliary in the community over a number of years.
Lauren demonstrated the CTG machine, using Shianne Murray, who is the team leader at the community health centre – and not pregnant! – as her model.
The machine has a number of functions, including monitoring a baby’s heartbeat, measuring a birthing mother’s contractions and assessing blood pressure. It can be used in antenatal care and in labour – sometimes right through labour.
“We get a clear heartbeat from this machine, so it lets us know when a baby is doing well or if we perhaps need to intervene,” said Lauren. “It gives a lot more information than the old machine did. Our staff have been trained to use it and we ensure they do regular updates in their training.”
The key advantage this latest model has over earlier models is its ability to monitor remotely. Its portable – and waterproof – electrodes allow a birthing mother to roam freely around the hospital (and even have a shower) while her health and her unborn baby’s health are being monitored, rather than being only the length of a lead from the CTG machine.
“It allows us to provide the highest level of care and means that women who otherwise might have had to be transferred to another hospital can instead give birth at South Gippsland Hospital,” said Lauren. “We are very grateful to everyone who helped in the purchase of this new machine and feel very fortunate indeed that such a large sum was raised by our community.”