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A happy new mum lies in a hospital bed, cradling her new born baby in her arms, with proud father over them.

Maryborough District Health Service (MDHS) is celebrating the birth of the 20th baby born under its new model of maternity care, which represents a “gold standard” for regional maternity care in Victoria.

MDHS introduced a new Midwife Group Practice (MGP) – Case Load Model of Care in May 2022. The model, known as the Maryborough Model, was developed to provide a safe and sustainable model of care and was designed specifically to meet the needs of women and families in the community.

Under the Maryborough Model, a primary midwife provides care for women from pregnancy right through to early parenting. The midwife is supported by a wider team of midwives and a collaborative, multidisciplinary healthcare team, including an obstetric consultant and GP obstetricians.

The model provides opportunities for more local women to have their pregnancy care with the service and to birth locally when clinically appropriate, with referral to specialist service partners in Bendigo or Ballarat when needed. Twenty women have birthed under the new model since May.

“This is a very exciting day for our health service as we celebrate the success of this innovative model, and share the joy of the 20 beautiful babies we’ve welcomed into our community in the past five months,” said Nickola Allan, Chief Executive Officer, Maryborough District Health Service.

“Our extraordinary midwifery team spent three years working with Australia’s leading maternity experts and gained input from more than 70 local families on the kind of care they want and need as they bring their babies into the world.

“Not only has this team developed a safe and sustainable model that meets the needs of local families, they have gone beyond – creating a new benchmark for regional maternity care that’s the first of its kind in Victoria. To see the benefits flow so quickly for our local families through their pregnancy journey is very moving.

“Under the Maryborough Model, every woman booked for pregnancy care at Maryborough District Health Service is allocated a primary midwife.

“The midwife provides care during pregnancy, is on-call for the labour and birth, and coordinates and provides care in the hospital and community after the baby is born,” she said. “This new model is just one part of our strategy to put the patient experience, innovation and community health outcomes at the heart of a major transformation at Maryborough District Health Service over the next four years.”

Evidence shows women experience better outcomes when midwives are the primary maternity care providers who work collaboratively with other providers to coordinate maternity care.

For first-time-mum Chloe Wardlaw, having her first baby, Bonnie, at Maryborough Hospital in September was a full circle moment. Chloe, too, was born in Maryborough, and her sister had birthed her two nephews there too. After being referred by her GP, Dr Daniel de Villiers, to MDHS to discuss her birth plan, Chloe connected with her primary midwife, Rhiannan Haintz, immediately.

“She made us feel comfortable and supported, and was available 24/7 for any questions we had,” said Chloe. Chloe and her partner Mitch Olassen formed a special bond with Rhiannan and the team of midwives who supported them every step of the way. Chloe also liked the convenience of being close to home, and was able to fit in appointments around her work schedule.

Bonnie was delivered at Maryborough Hospital. Rhiannan stayed at the hospital and was available anytime. “Rhi and the team became such a big part of our life, and the care we received from everyone was amazing. We’re incredibly lucky to have that sort of care and can’t speak highly enough of the experience we had,” said Chloe.

The Maryborough Model was co-designed with local midwives, GPs, obstetricians and consumers, based on feedback from the community. The governance committee included representation from the Department of Health, Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation and Safer Care Victoria.

The MDHS maternity service will be expanded as part of the redevelopment of Maryborough Hospital. The $100 million investment will include the addition of two new birthing suites by late 2024 will allow more mothers to give birth closer to home. To find out more about maternity services at Maryborough District Health Service visit