Women will be the winners from today’s commitment by the Victorian ALP to give private midwives access to public hospitals.
Managing Director of My Midwives (Australia’s largest private midwifery practice) Liz Wilkes said in Brunswick today that hospital access was the key to giving women the option of choosing their own midwife for pregnancy, birth and postnatal care.
“When women are choosing their maternity care provider, they really want to know who will be there supporting and caring for them in labour. This is so important to them. Hospital access for private midwives will enable Victorian women to employ a midwife who can provide pregnancy care in their community, birth care in their local hospital, and postnatal care at home. Women love it having direct access to the midwife.”
“Eight Queensland hospitals already offer this option to local women. It’s so simple. “Hospitals check the midwife’s credentials, set up a contract for access, and provide medical care when women need it. Private midwives provide Medicare-rebated antenatal care in the community and only send women in when something isn’t normal. When women go into labour their midwife admits them to hospital and looks after them, referring to hospital doctors whenever necessary. As soon as mother and baby are ready, they go home and have midwife visits whenever they need. It’s so good for women and so efficient for hospitals.”
Melbourne mother to be Lauren Heery said this was exciting news, and hoped that her local hospital would be one of the pilot sites. “Pregnancy and birth are such important events, and so personal. It’s really important to me to be able to choose someone I trust, who can get to know me and be there for me” Medicare rebates and Commonwealth-subsidised professional indemnity insurance have been in place for private midwives since November 2010. State and Territory governments signed up to the National Maternity Services Plan to coordinate implementation, but progress has been very slow in most states. The Victorian Government published a guide for public hospitals in 2013: Eligible midwives and collaborative arrangements – An implementation framework for Victorian public health services, however no Victorian hospital had progressed implementation.Liz Wilkes Managing Director of My Midwives