Published: 29 June 2021

Legislative Council Tuesday 29 June, 2021



Regarding lactation support for women living on King Island:

1 Is access to a Lactation Consultant (LC) considered an essential service for postnatal women facing breastfeeding challenges;

2 As a cost of $500+ to see private lactation consultant at the woman’s own cost off island;
2.1 Has PTAS funding been applied for to support travel costs to access a lactation consultant;
2.2 Has PTAS support ever been declined for access to a lactation consultant?

3 What are the breastfeeding rates (over each of the last five years) for women living on King Island:
3.1 At hospital discharge;
3.2 At 6 weeks postpartum
3.3 At 6 months postpartum.

4 Currently there is no THS funded LC position on King Island, will the employment of a permanent part-time LC be considered to ensure women are supported to breastfeed and support the THS Registered Midwife; and

4.1 If not, why not?


1 The Tasmanian Health Service provides a Lactation Consultant service to King Island through telehealth by referral from either the resident midwife on the Island or THS Outreach Service.

2 I am advised that the Patient Travel Assistance Scheme has no record of receiving any applications in relation to accessing a Lactation Consultant.

3 The following data relates to breastfed babies discharged from the North West Private Hospital who reside on King Island. It should be noted that eight and six month data includes babies registered with Child Health and Parenting Service born at any location across Tasmania or Interstate who reside on King Island. This can lead to variability in the total number of clients across the three categories.

3.1 At hospital discharge:

2016: 85.7 per cent
2017: 100 per cent
2018: 100 per cent
2019: 83.3 per cent
2020: 100 per cent

3.2 At 6 weeks postpartum:

2016: 100 per cent
2017: 80 per cent
2018: 86 per cent
2019: 88 per cent
2020: 65 per cent

3.3 At 6 months postpartum:

2016: No data is available for this year.
2017: 64 per cent
2018: 85 per cent
2019: 88 per cent
2020: 77 per cent

4 I am advised Child Health Assessments on King Island are provided in addition to Lactation Consultant support via telehealth. A Child Health Nurse provides child health assessments and parenting support, including breastfeeding support.
The current service levels appear to be providing the support needed.


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