Sunday, October 10, 2010

Collaboration for homebirth with a General Practitioner

A well known Melbourne GP, Peter Lucas, has attended homebirths with midwives for many years.

An excerpt from his website:

“For some 35 years Dr Peter Lucas and Wattle Park House has offered collaborative care with home birth families and the midwives they have chosen to assist them with their experiences.
"This will continue but assumes that the Wattle Park House medical practitioner attends the birth.
"Until midwives obtain full indemnity cover which includes the labour and delivery, collaboration at a distance is fraught with uncertainty in a medico-legal sense, and cannot be seriously entertained.”

Midwives are concerned that although this doctor is willing to enter what has been called a "collaborative" arrangement with a midwife, he (or his insurance company) are setting conditions on his collaboration and transferring the primary carer role from the midwife to himself. If midwives were to enter into agreements with Peter, they would no longer be the primary carer for their own clients. The arrangement negates the notion of continuity of care from the midwife who practises on her own authority, and renders useless the process of applying for Medicare/PBS eligibility for these women for their antenatal care, as the doctor will be providing that.