MORE than 200 people have rallied in support of the continuation of obstetric services at Cohuna District Hospital.
Birthing services have been suspended indefinitely despite the availability of experienced general practitioner and obstetrician, Dr Peter Barker, and staff midwives.
Echuca Regional Health, which manages the hospital, claims the loss of another GP obstetrician has forced it to take this drastic action.
However, Dr Barker told the rally that the hospital often placed itself on bypass when staff were busy and make this call on a day-to-day basis.
"We have managed that well for decades and not failed a mother yet," he said.
Health service chief executive officer, Michael Delahunty said the safety of women giving birth was their number one priority.
“The departure of a GP obstetrician has left us with what is, in effect, a single practitioner maternity service. This is not fair on him – or the women of our community.
“And nothing is more important to us than their safety. While we apologise for any inconvenience we will not put any woman at risk.
“In the meantime, our doctors and midwives will continue to provide first-rate antenatal and postnatal service to patients," he said.
Birthing services are available at Swan Hill, Echuca and Bendigo.
Kerang District Health has been advertising since its last GP obstetrician resigned and birthing services have been suspended.
Former mayor, Max Fehring has urged residents to write to the Minister for Health, Jill Hennessy and protest about the withdrawal of services.