Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Monthly update

My purpose in writing a monthly update is to draw my own thoughts together, as much as to inform others. The terrain of private midwifery practice in Australia is going through great changes at the hands of our government, with varying degrees of input from professional and consumer bodies who have a seat at the discussion tables.

Here are links to the August and September updates.

Meetings have been convened this week in Canberra by the Health Department, with working groups on 'eligibility' and Medicare arrangements for midwives. Considerable discussion has circulated amongst independent midwives about the issue of a suitable 'framework' under which the eligible midwife will practise in the new maternity era that will be ushered in 1 July next year. From what I have read I am not sure that anyone knows what is meant by 'framework'. My concern is that any structure for midwifery must be consistent with the ICM Definition of the midwife (2005) - see earlier blog.

An attempt at micromanagement of midwifery that is mis-named 'framework', dictating detail in an effort to appease competing interest groups, rather than declaring the agreed principles under which midwives practise, will simply not work.

The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) hosted a meeting today in their offices in Canberra. Other organisations invited to the meeting are Australian Private Midwives Assn (APMA), Homebirth Australia, and Maternity Coalition.

Today I am no more confident that authentic midwifery will survive this period of legislative reform than I was a few months ago. Midwives who have practised safely in their communities for many years, and who are highly respected by their clients as well as other professionals, are still wondering what hurdles will be in place in the near future, and whether they will be able to continue providing the basic primary maternity care midwifery services that they are expert in.

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