Monday, May 2, 2011

Senate Inquiry into AHPRA, the day before International Midwives' Day

Press Release:
Australian Private Midwives Association and Midwives in Private Practice

Midwives will present at a Senate Hearing into the national regulator – AHPRA - on Wednesday 4th May, the day before Midwives Day is celebrated around the world.

Marie Heath, National President of the Australian Private Midwives Association, today indicated that many unfounded complaints/notifications against midwives would be raised in a move that many see as part of an international war against homebirth.

“Midwives working in private practice are almost universally facing disciplinary action,” Mrs Heath stated “We have been swamped with midwives facing action from AHPRA. Most of these midwives then have restriction on their practice put in place before they have an opportunity to defend themselves. Many midwives face a sudden inability to practice, therefore cannot make a living. Women are then faced with the potential of not having their care provider in birth. It is unacceptable.”

The move to national registration had been welcomed by midwives hoping that this would provide consistency across states and an emphasis on timely responses to registration and complaints. “Unfortunately the opposite has occurred. Midwives in private practice seeking Medicare provider numbers which have been available since November have ended up bogged down in red tape, unsure of requirements and unable to get their provider numbers. Most are waiting months before they even know whether their application is being considered.” Joy Johnson from Midwives in Private Practice added.

Mrs Heath indicated that these two matters of complaints handling and processing of registration requirements would form part of the evidence to be given today. “For midwives in private practice Government reforms in maternity services aimed to provide access to Medicare for women for hospital births. However we are yet to see one midwife nationally able to provide continuity - pregnancy, birth and postnatal care. It is unacceptable and we expect the Minister to step in.”

“For the self-employed midwife there is not a lot to celebrate tomorrow on International Midwives Day. The international slogan is “The world needs midwives now more than ever”. It is disappointing that this theme does not seem to be accepted in Australia.”

Contacts: Liz Wilkes 0423 580585
Marie Heath 0400 774 725
Joy Johnson 04111 90448

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