DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
A most serious issue has emerged in Blacktown that is nothing short of a national disgrace. At the only public hospital in the Greater Blacktown area, which services some of the fastest growing suburbs in north-west Sydney, if not all of Australia, babies are dying unexpectedly during or soon after birth. Every infant death is tragic, but we're not talking about isolated incidents here. On Sunday, Blacktown Hospital recorded its sixth unexpected death of a baby within around two years. Let that sink in: six babies in two years. The heartbreaking depth of grief for every one of those parents and their families is palpable, and I'm so profoundly sorry for every one of them and their precious children.
I have ventilated longstanding issues with the understaffing and maladministration of Blacktown Hospital in this parliament before, most recently in November, when nurses and midwives took industrial action in response to their intolerable working conditions. I wrote to the New South Wales health minister seeking an urgent briefing on this unfolding crisis. I received a response a month later, not from the minister but from his underling, essentially not saying anything anybody didn't already know. In the meantime, another family have lost their beautiful baby. There are longstanding issues at Blacktown Hospital that need to be resolved now. I was born in that hospital, and I say, as a local member and a mother, that the families of Blacktown deserve to have confidence that the service they will receive in their local public hospital will be of the same standard as those in the rest of Sydney.