Friday, February 20, 2009

News from ACM

Australian College of Midwives
Important News Update

Breaking news - Review of Maternity Services

We are anticipating that the federal government's review of maternity services may be released very soon. The review was commissioned by federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon last September, and received over 960 submissions from individuals and organisations interested in maternity care.

Please keep an ear out on your local radio stations for the opportunity to phone in to talk back sessions and share your views about whatever the review might recommend. We have reason to believe the news will be positive for women and midwives but we don't have details.

Maternity Care in Public Hospitals alleged to be unsafe
You will probably be aware that there was media attention given this week to a study published in the Medical Journal of Australia alleging that babies are 2-3 times more likely to die if the mother gives birth in a public hospital.

This study is methodologically flawed, and the assertion is false. It does not account for the differences in the health and socioeconomic status of women who access public hospitals from private ones, nor does it account for the fact that most private hospitals do not have neonatal intensive care units, and therefore transfer sick babies to public hospitals.

The ACM provided extensive briefing to newspaper and radio journalists following the release of the article, to clarify the facts about maternity care by public hospitals. An example of one article is here:

Opinion Piece

ACM has also collaborated in this week with the ANF on an opinion piece ahead of the launch of the review. See it at

Victorian Media today

An article has appeared today in the Victorian media that may be of interest.

Maternity Units 'herding yards', Tha Age, Friday 20 February 2009:

Health Care Reform Writ large

Lastly, the Health and Hospitals Reform Commission has released its interim report to the Government on Monday this week. There is little specifically about maternity care in the report, but it maps out some options for major structural reform of Australia's health care services that would affect maternity care along with all other areas of care if adopted.

The report is an interim report. The Commission will hand down its final report to the government in June 2009.

To read the overview and/or details of the report, visit the Commission's website:

regards Barb

Dr Barbara Vernon
Executive Officer
Australian College of Midwives
Tel: 02 6230 7333
Mob: 0438 855 529

1 comment:

Joy Johnston said...

I have copied and pasted this message from the College of Midwives as I received it. However, I need to question the assertion by the College that, referring to the study comparing birth outcomes of public and private hospitals, "This study is methodologically flawed ..."
I have made a comment about the study, with a link to the published paper, at my blog The authors state that they excluded premature births, multiples, and others who might skew the outcomes, such as women with private bookings in public hospitals.
I am puzzled by the results of this study. I would like to hear from others who have read the paper. Joy Johnston