Qld to boost Gladstone pregnancy services

A major central Queensland hospital expects to offer 24-hour maternity services by the end of this month after a temporary doctor signed a contract, but local women will still need to drive more than 100km to give birth.

Gladstone Hospital has been on maternity bypass since July, which has prevented most women in the city of 63,515 people from giving birth locally unless by elective caesarean, and they instead have to drive to Rockhampton when they go into labour.

Acting Premier Steven Miles said a temporary doctor had signed a contract to start work on January 30, which will allow the hospital to offer maternity services around the clock from that date, but the bypass will remain until they can recruit another four permanent obstetricians.

"We will continue to onboard the four obstetricians who we've recruited. Some of them are coming from overseas, that will take some time for us to get them here," he told reporters in Cairns on Thursday.

"We anticipate to be back to that full complement of 10 obstetricians around the middle of the year."

Save Gladstone Maternity Ward founder Jemma Manwaring asked why it had taken so long and why most women still had to drive more than 100km to give birth.

"The uncertainty remains. The anxiety remains," she wrote on Facebook on Thursday.

"We're not going anywhere."

Opposition Leader David Crisafulli said the lack of maternity services in Gladstone was "a disgrace".

He said an indefinite promise of more obstetricians later in the year wasn't fair for the city's residents.

"That looks like political weasel words, and that city deserves what they have had for generations: women in a city of 60,000 deserve the right to have the health service that they have relied on for generations," he told reporters on the Gold Coast.

"In a modern Queensland, we should be improving the health system, not taking services away from regional areas."

When asked if he still had confidence in Health Minister Yvette D'Ath, Mr Miles said she was an "excellent health minister" in a complex and complicated portfolio.

"Often issues get boiled down to simple slogans on headlines by the opposition and by the media, but I know just how hard it is working every single day and I have absolute confidence in her," said Mr Miles, himself a former health minister.

"There's no harder job than being the health minister. I know that and she is working incredibly hard, she's incredibly passionate."