Midwives in Private Practice (MiPP) is a collective that has operated continuously since the late 1980s, providing peer support, continuing professional education, and a voice for its members. MiPP has approximately 30 members, some of whom have ‘eligible midwife’ notation on their registration; a few have prescriber endorsement; some are in the process of achieving these; and all are offering their services as midwives with caseloads, providing primary maternity care in a way that is consistent with the ICM Definition of the Midwife (2011).
Having noted that midwives attending homebirth are, at present, exempt from the requirement for professional indemnity insurance, it is clear that there is no such 'exemption' for the practice of providing private support for a woman who is planning to give birth in hospital. The NMBA Guidelines for Professional Indemnity Insurance for Midwives state that:
"Under section 129 of the National Law, midwives must not practise their profession unless they are covered in the conduct of their practice by appropriate professional indemnity insurance arrangements."
It would appear that the midwife who accompanies a woman to hospital, either when transferring care from planned homebirth, or when providing continuous midwifery support in planned hospital birth, is practising without professional indemnity insurance. It could be argued that the midwife who has no clinical privileges in a hospital is thereby prevented from practising, but, as noted above, the midwife is still a midwife, and may be judged as a midwife if there is a professional investigation into conduct.
As has been documented in this and other social media and professional sites, maternity reform has been, at times, a bumpy ride. Legislative change takes many years to accomplish. There is no easy solution to our professional indemnity problems, on the horizon.
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