Wednesday, December 23, 2009

homebirth with public hospital funding in Victoria

This news appears in The Age thismorning.

Home-birth boost for expectant mothers

December 23, 2009

VICTORIAN women will be able to give birth at home - with hospital back-up for the first time - under a pilot project starting at three hospitals next year. [... continued]

"with hospital back-up for the first time" NO! Victorian women planning homebirth have had hospital backup arrangements for as long as anyone in the business can remember.

with hospital/government $$$ (Mother does not pay any fee) for the first time YES

* Some women who have previously not been able to afford the cost of homebirth with a private midwife will now be able to access this service through their local hospital, if they live within reach of Sunshine in Melbourne's Western suburbs, or Casey, in Melbourne's outer South-Eastern corridor.

* Some midwives who have not been able to work independently in private practice will be able to access this service, and extend their practices, providing primary maternity care for individual women (caseload) through their local hospital, if they live within reach of Sunshine or Casey hospitals.

This homebirth service is a pilot scheme, which means the scheme will be evaluated before a decision is made to continue it or cancel it. The newspaper article (I haven't been able to find a press release from the Department yet) tells us that it's a one-year pilot, that would provide services for about 50 women at each site. That's a caseload that two midwives could easily cover, working part time for the pilot, and taking some private bookings at the same time.

"A regional health service will also participate, but the Government has yet to decide which one." - we will let readers know as soon as the news is available.


Joy Johnston said...

Adding a comment ...
A one-year pilot anything in maternity care is pretty pointless unless there is a commitment to rolling it out broadly as soon as the processes have been checked.

I received a letter (dated 16 Dec 09) in reply to a recent letter I sent to the Health Minister Daniel Andrews, from the Executive Director of Hospital and Health Service Performance at the Vic Department of Health. He wrote:
“In relation to your proposal to establish a virtual arm to the homebirth pilot scheme for privately practising midwives, I am aware that a similar model has been adopted in international settings. I understand that it has been recognised as a potential model, in Australia, subject to clarification of indemnity and related registration issues. The department will consider such models alongside the experience from the home birthing pilots and the requirements for registration and indemnity for privately practising midwives.”

Joy Johnston said...

Women who are interested in booking with the government's homebirth pilots, and who live within reach of Sunshine or Casey hospitals are encouraged to contact the hospitals. Please share the information you are given via this blog or other site.
We have heard that Sunshine is at present being flexible about taking bookings from women outside the 20K radius.

Women are also encouraged to contact independent midwives for birth bookings after 1 July next year. These midwives will be required to have indemnity insurance to cover their professional practices, with the exemption for birth. Our insurance policies will cover prenatal and postnatal care and other services that we provide, excluding the birth. We do not know yet how 'the birth' will be defined.