Thursday, July 17, 2008
[Photo: Independent midwives and Shared Care Coordinators in the lobby at the Women's]
Thismorning a group of independent midwives met with the Shared Care coordinators at the Women's for morning tea and a tour of the new hospital. We asked a security guard to take a group photo, so when that is available, it will be added here.
For some years now the Women's has provided an excellent hospital backup booking arrangement for women planning homebirth. Midwives are able to fax or mail a booking referral form, and if medical review is needed in pregnancy, or during labour, or after the birth, the woman is welcomed.
We hope that in the near future all public hospitals will offer similar backup arrangements for women planning to give birth in the care of a midwife at home. A recommendation to achieve this change has been made to the Maternity Services Advisory Committee, who advise the Minister for Health. The collaboration between midwives who provide primary maternity care, and the hospitals with specialist obstetric, paediatric, and other medical, midwifery and nursing services is consistent with the professional duty of care to act in the interest of the mother and her baby.
We also hope that in the near future many public hospitals in Victoria will be offering homebirth services, and supporting midwives who want to upskill to work with women in the community. This would make a lot of practical sense in the current birthing environment, where virtually every maternity hospital is stretched beyond its capacity, and the birth rate is at an all time high.
The South Australian government has recently introduced a process by which women can give birth at home, within funded public health arrangements. The information brochure is at http://www.health.sa.gov.au/PPG/Portals/0/planned_home_birth_brochure_SA.pdf
Publicly funded homebirth is also available in WA through the Community Midwifery Program http://www.cmwa.net.au/ in Alice Springs and Darwin through the NT government, and potentially in NSW, although we have been told that baby's experiencing a difficult birth due to a lot of red tape. [If anyone reading this has up to date information on homebirth accessibility, particularly with public funding, we would love to hear from you. JJ]
On a practical note, the new hospital can be accessed from the West on Flemington Road, or after turning into Flemington Road from Grattan Street. Car parking is underground, and fees are similar to other public car parks in the city. For details of the new hospital go to http://www.thewomens.org.au/OurNewHospital
Posted by Joy Johnston at 3:37 PM