Blacktown Hospital is in crisis. But it’s only the symptom of an Australia-wide obstetrics emergency. – Mamamia

Right now there's a crisis underway at Sydney's Blacktown Hospital.

Twenty obstetricians have been threatening to resign en masse following the unexpected deaths of five newborns within 18 months.

They've been struggling with inadequate access to operating theatres to perform emergency caesarean sections, understaffing, over-demand, and a crippling lack of funding.

This week nurses and midwives also revolted, threatening to take industrial action unless the Local Health District addressed concerns over patient safety and personal wellbeing.

Watch: Blacktown Hospital is in turmoil. Post continues after video.

But as president of the National Association of Specialist Obstetricians and Gynaecologists Dr Gino Pecoraro warns, this is just a symptom of an Australia-wide emergency.

As he tells Mamamia, we could very well start seeing Blacktown's breaking point happening in every town and city in the country.

"This is not isolated. It really is in my mind a screaming red beacon with flashing lights and sirens standing up and down saying 'take note of me! If you don't do something, this is what will be in the news every week from now on!'"

He says the problems have been slowly growing for many decades now, and they stem from families increasingly turning away from the private sector because it's simplyno longer an affordable option for the majority.

By way of illustration, Australian Institute of Health and Welfare data shows private hospital births have decreased on average by 3.8 per cent in each of the five years to 2017-18, and by 6.6 per cent from 2016-17. The proportion of births in the private setting was 22 per cent in 2017-18, which is five per cent lower than in 2010-11.

Why? Rising private health insurance premiums paired with inadequate, frozen and non indexed Medicare rebates.

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Blacktown Hospital is in crisis. But it's only the symptom of an Australia-wide obstetrics emergency. - Mamamia

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