Thursday, February 18, 2010

National consultations on Quality and Safety Framework for Midwifery Care

Many of Victoria's privately practising midwives, as well as maternity consumer activists, have attended meetings today with representatives of the Department of Health's Maternity Services Program (Ms Julie Jenkin) and the Maternity and Newborn Clinical Network (Dr Jeremy Oats and Ms Debby Rodgers). Similar meetings are also being held in other capital cities.

The purpose of the consultations is to develop a 'Quality and Safety Framework' which midwives in private practice will be required to agree to IF we wish to be exempt from the requirement for private indemnity insurance for attending home births. For more on the exemption, click here.

We were reassured, once again, that the government has no intention of preventing midwives from continuing their private practices. BUT the caveat is that we must comply with a framework that is yet to be declared.

Having carefully considered the draft framework, we have no confidence that we will be able to comply.

Submissions will be made to the consultation by the end of February, and we will keep our readers informed.

Please note that these comments focus on the midwife and our right to practise midwifery in the setting of the woman's choice. While it is likely that midwives will continue to practise after 1 July, we have deep concern for women whose 'risk profile' includes factors such as previous caesarean births, previous post partum haemorrhage, multiparity, breech, post 42-weeks gestation, as well as age and BMI considerations. These women are often the ones who seek out a private midwife, and who may choose to plan home birth at present. The 'quality and safety framework' appears to be a bureaucratic effort to prevent such women from accessing any care outside the hospital system.


Homebirth Midwife said...

Politicians and bureaucrats be warned!

Women will continue to give birth at home despite your plans to interfere in the name of ensuring "quality and safety". That is their right.

Women planning homebirth with private midwives know that the "hospital system" will NEVER be able to offer the same level of care. That is why they are willing to pay for the birth themselves, write thousands of submissions and attend rallies across the country.

Women have the right to determine the risks for themselves and accept responsibility for their own choices. Your attempts at restrictions and exclusions will only further limit their options and REDUCE the safety and quality of care.

If a woman planning a homebirth is denied the option to have a midwife present just because she is having her 7th baby, or she had a haemorrhage after her 1st birth but non since, do you honestly think she will say, "Okay, no worries, I'll just give birth in hospital then"?

It's not going to happen. She may feel she has to lie about her medical/birthing history or give birth unattended despite the "risk factors".

How safe is it then??? How can you not see that it is better to have a midwife there, than not at all???

Congratulations, you are opening yourselves up for massive legal action for denying them access to the midwifery care that they wanted and were willing to pay for, particularly if there is an adverse outcome.

Beverley W said...

I am outraged by the seeming mistaken beliefs which are driving the current spin coming not only from the Government but also from midwives professional organisation ACM which does not appear to be listening, to the members it is meant to serve. Driven by some in the medical profession our politicians are blinded by men of science whose objective is to play with womens lives using the latest toys for boys. These same 'men of science' through cultural practice (without evidence to base this on)traditionally made women lie on their backs to birth, with great difficulty, up against gravity for nearly 2 centuries. Both organizations government and the College appear to have fallen over for patriarchal dominance by means of the fear message.
The "determination" ought to have been an opportunity for female politicians to have stood beside and for the rights of midwives who have been denied access to Medicare since its inception by a blatant group of men who have then and now dominated its board since the 1970's.

So much for feminism and affirmative action for women in parliament. Midwives quite rightly want to run a business using their unique ability to enable women to give birth which results in an intact woman and a healthy baby.

Women who choose this option seem to raise the ire of a small percentage of obstetricians (some of them women) who blatantly state they disapprove of home birth.
I believe this to be a smokescreen to cover their own incompetence hidden behind hospital walls - where no one may, including governments, dare investigate.

If women realised how fast hospitals are becoming an unsafe place to be they would stay home for birth.