Senate support private midwives10 May 2012 | Health, including preventive / Women
The Senate today passed a motion calling for immediate action on the obstacles facing privately practicing midwives in Australia.
"The government set aside $120 million in 2010 for midwives in private practice to access Medicare and the PBS, but hardly any have been able to do so," said Dr Richard Di Natale, the Greens Spokesperson on Health. "Because they can't get visiting access rights, they can't be by their patients if they get admitted to public hospitals."
The Senate motion called upon the government to work with states to resolve visiting access issues and to clear any other roadblocks preventing privately practicing midwives accessing Medicare and the PBS.
"This situation has to change. Mothers want and expect continuity of care, not to have to say goodbye to their chosen midwife at the hospital doors. The Senate has now recognised the issue and it is now up to the states to deliver."
Australian Greens Senator and spokesperson for women Lee Rhiannon said:
"Australia is still well behind when it comes to midwifery compared with other nations such as Norway. "Roadblocks frustrating women's right to choose a range of birthing arrangements needs clearing. "Midwives are known to provide extremely safe and high quality care, facilitating continuity over the pregnancy, birthing and post natal periods.
Motion Noteson 1 November 2010 $120.5 million was made available to improve choice and access to maternity services, and for eligible midwives to work in private practice Australia; to provide greater access to maternity care provided by midwives, Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) benefits were made available for services provided by eligible midwives; eligible privately practicing midwives are not currently able to work to their full scope of practice and claim MBS and PBS because access and admitting rights to public hospitals have not been established by state and territory governments.
Calls on the Minister for Health and Ageing to work with COAG and Australian health ministers to urge state and territory action on access and admitting rights to public hospitals for eligible privately practicing midwives; investigate any further support necessary for privately practicing midwives to transition into private practice, to work to their full scope of practice and access MBS and PBS benefits; and consult with stakeholders.