PORTLAND District Health (PDH) has hit back at the Rural Doctors Association of Victoria (RDAV) after it claimed obstetrics services had ceased at the hospital. PDH director of nursing Frank Megens said the hospital continued to offer a safe birthing service to women in the Portland district. Responding to statements from the RDAV, Mr Megens said PDH’s birthing service was in line with the Department of Health Birthing Capability Framework. “This service has been in place since 2009 and we continue to manage any risks and to work closely with all mothers to ensure they have the best possible and safest birthing experience,” Mr Megens said. “Transfers occur in accordance with PDH’s capability and ensure the safest outcomes for birthing at PDH result.” Mr Megens said low risk births continue in Portland and PDH looked forward to the arrival of a new GP obstetrician to start within months. Planned caesarean births are also able to be done at PDH. “If there is an assessment that there is insufficient time to travel to Warrnambool we are able to provide a low-risk birthing service in Portland,” Mr Megens said. On Tuesday the RDAV released a statement expressing its concern about the full closure of maternity services at PDH, which PDH has denied. Read more in Monday’s edition of the Portland Observer.