A PETITION was tabled in State parliament yesterday calling for the re-opening of the maternity ward at Katanning Hospital.
The ward was closed in 2011, but families in the region want it re-opened amid concerns over the lack of health services on offer in the town.
The petition was signed by 4676 people, with a group of concerned Katanning residents travelling to Perth to see it tabled.
Katanning local Paula Bolto initiated the petition and said it took only two weeks to gain the signatures.
"It just goes to show how important the hospital is not just for Katanning people, but also the smaller towns in the region," Ms Bolto said.
She said travelling long distances to have babies delivered caused social upheaval for families in the area.
"In the city you may have another hospital nearby but for us it is an hour and a half away," she said.
Member for the Agricultural Region Jim Chown presented the petition to the Legislative Council.
"This is obviously a substantial issue for the Katanning community and surrounding areas," Mr Chown said.
"Katanning Hospital services a large regional area and it is two years since the maternity wing was closed down due to a lack of obstetric professionals.
"A petition with just under 5000 signatures highlights the dire need for this particular ward to be reopened as soon as possible in Katanning." More in next week's Farm Weekly.