Rural maternity care and health policy: Parents' experiences
Date of this Version
To explore rural residents' experiences of access to maternity care with consideration of the policy context.
This paper describes findings from focus groups with parents which formed part of case study data from a larger study.
Four north Queensland rural towns.
Thirty-three parents living in one of the four rural towns.
Main outcome measures:
Identifying prevalent themes in case studies regarding rural parents' expectations and experiences in accessing maternity care.
Parents desired a local, safe and consistent maternity service. Removing or downgrading rural services introduced new barriers to care for rural residents: (i) increased financial costs; (ii) family issues; and (iii) safety concerns.
Although concerns about rural residents' health status and health care access have received significant policy attention for over a decade, many of the problems which prompted these policy initiatives remain today. Current policy approaches should be re-evaluated in order to improve rural Australians' access to vital health services such as maternity care.
This document has been peer reviewed.