Support for new parents and babies resumes in Gippsland

The reopening of the Agnes Parent and Infant Unit at Latrobe Regional Hospital is a win for parents and babies in the Gippsland region said The Nationals Member for Eastern Victoria Region, Melina Bath.

The Agnes Parent and Infant Unit is a dedicated service helping new parents in Gippsland struggling with living with a newborn, including feeding and sleeping disorders and postnatal depression and anxiety.

The service was closed by the Andrews Government, sacrificed to provide a surge workforce during the pandemic.

In state parliament last sitting week, Nationals MP and Shadow Assistant Minister for Mental Health, Emma Kealy asked the Andrews Government why new parents and babies in the Latrobe Valley were being denied vital mental health support through the government’s closure of this life-saving service?

Ms Bath said Latrobe Regional Hospital’s parent and infant mental health unit had been closed three times during the pandemic, much to the dismay of families in need and its hardworking staff.

“Our highly skilled nursing and midwifery team helps parents who may be struggling with their babies for a range of reasons, it also plays a large role in supporting the mental health of parents.

“It’s incredibly important to provide proactive and positive support for new parents and the development of their babies through a continuous and integrated support and health services.

“Cutting off family mental health supports when many individuals were suffering after prolonged periods of isolation from multiple lockdowns was the wrong decision.

“In a win for parents and babies in Gippsland, I am pleased to report following The Nationals advocacy, the Agnes parent and infant unit at Latrobe Regional Hospital has today resumed.”