Saturday, August 15, 2009

Homebirth Whisperer

Guest Blogger Robyn Thompson writes, in response to an article in the Herald Sun On-Line, August 11, 2009

HOMEBIRTHS will be driven underground by Rudd Government moves to force midwives to be insured.
“Some 200 midwives could be driven to practice clandestine homebirthing because they will be denied indemnity insurance, the Opposition says”.

True. Australian private midwives, given the green light at the Senate Inquiry (8/8), are safe to continue to practice without insurance, so long as they don’t use their well earned academic Title MIDWIFE.

On the cusp of critical Australian Health Reform, evolutionary generations of Australian ‘Homebirth Whisperers’ are on the horizon.

Midwives, likely insurers and the Health Minister are damned if they do and damned if they don’t. In fairness the Australian Health Minister never intended this political and professional debacle, she warned the professions from the outset to reach a workable solution. Why this debacle? Because some high profile medical and nursing leaders found it too difficult to talk with the country’s most experienced midwives. Instead, they continued on a destructive pathway of supremacy.

The crux of this debacle about the legislation linking unavailable indemnity to registration for midwives providing homebirth services is compounded by collusion. The plot – leave the nucleus of private MIDWIVES out of the debate, no consultation. The consequence – In the absence of the voice of expert midwives, propaganda and innuendo transformed their gold standard professional services into a disproportionate, fear driven campaign against the safety of Australian homebirth. Oppression of private midwives linked to planned suppression of their practice stimulated the unprecedented rise of Australian women, directly affected by insularly controlled bureaucratic decision making, challenging their democratic and human rights to place-of-birth.

Why the eleventh hour turn around by the Senate Inquiry to invite a private midwife to speak? Private midwives had nothing to lose with their MIDWIFE future under threat of extinction. Midwives had enough initiative to inaugurate the Australian Private Midwives Association (APMA) uniting privately practising midwives nationally to deal with deathly politics. And because of persistent, dogged, political lobbying, some intelligent Senators understood the real issues of exclusion and propaganda, inviting at the eleventh hour a politically savvy privately practising midwife, to speak at the Senate Inquiry. Finally there was one voice.

This debate is also compounded by historical marriage. Members of medical and nursing organisations are realising they have to divorce historical control over Midwifery. From July 1, 2010 midwives and nurses will be separated with two distinct Registers. Midwifery re-emerges as profession in its own right, no longer controlled by nursing or obstetrics. While the professions will continue to work together with midwifery and medicine consulting in the best interests of women and their babies, women will retain the right to choose whatever service best suits them.

What does all of this mean? The crystal ball- medical income could be affected as more Australian women over time may decide to seek the services of Medicare ‘eligible’ midwives. That does not mean that obstetric s will be negated. What it means is obstetrics will provide respected, highly skilled institutional medical services for women. Healthy women without medical complications may seek to have their full scope of care provided by Medicare ‘eligible’ midwives in various geographical settings via a range of creative models including private homebirth.

Meanwhile, until the issues are sensibly resolved around the dollar, it is highly likely that women seeking to employ the full scope of private care at home will continue with experienced ‘Homebirth Whisperers’ to fill the void from July, 2010.

Robyn Thompson
RM, RN, M&CHN, BachAppSc, BF Cons
PhD Student
Charles Darwin University NT
Mob: 0418 324 058
Pregnancy, Birth and Breastfeeding Whisperer maybe!

No comments: