Monday, May 7, 2012

Midwives and medicines

The Nursing and Midwifery Board (NMBA) has announced the approval the inaugural program of study which will lead to Endorsement for Scheduled Medicines for Eligible Midwives. This is a program of study will enable the existing 114 eligible midwives, once their study is completed, to obtain an endorsement to prescribe scheduled medicines, and, the Board claims, to practice to their full scope of midwifery practice.

The accredited program is within a Graduate Certificate in Midwifery at Flinders University (South Australia), and is comprised of 2 topics:
MIDW9009 Pharmacology for Midwives and
MIDW9010 Investigations and Diagnostics for Midwives.
They are both 9 unit topics and they are offered externally. The topics can be studied together in one semester of full time study or one topic a semester as part time.

Application for the course through SATAC and it will commence in semester 2 this year. The SATAC Code is 2GC087 Graduate Certificate in Midwifery and applications for a second semester commencement close on 25 June.

Midwives who have achieved notation on the Register as eligible for Medicare were required to make an undertaking to the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (“the Board”):-
• That I will undertake, and successfully complete, within 18 months* of recognition as an eligible midwife:-
(i) an accredited and approved program of study determined by the Board to develop midwives’ knowledge and skills in prescribing; or
(ii) a program that is substantially equivalent to such an approved program of study, as determined by the Board.
I understand that until I meet the above requirement I will not be able to seek endorsement for scheduled medicines and will therefore not be prescribing medicines. I also understand that if I am not able to provide the Board with the necessary evidence of successful completion of the required program within 18 months, the notation as an eligible midwife may be revoked. I understand that a failure to comply with the above undertaking may constitute behaviour for which conduct proceedings may be taken under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (South Australia). 

* Note that this deadline has been recently extended by 12 months, as recently reported in this blog.

Midwives who have completed courses that have been recognised as substantially equivalent are not yet able to prescribe scheduled medicines.  The Victorian law (Drugs and Poisons) is yet to be amended to enable midwife prescription.

Midwives who are practising in primary maternity care, with or without participation in Medicare, have only minimal reliance on scheduled drugs.  We do not carry dangerous drugs, such as Pethidine, which is often used in hospital for obstetric analgesia.  Some midwives arrange with the woman's GP a prescription for prophylactic antibiotics for women who test positive to Group B Streptococcus. The scheduled drug that is considered essential for midwives attending births in the community is Syntocinon, a synthetic oxytocic, to be used postnatally to prevent or treat post partum haemorrhage.  Women obtain this drug, and sometimes a stronger oxytocic, Syntometrine, on a doctor's prescription, and their midwife takes responsibility for its administration. 


1 comment:

Joy Johnston said...

Midwives who are preparing for, or who are participating in the Medicare arrangements are welcome to join a new APMA YAHOO! group, which will facilitate discussion and communication.
If you would like to receive an invitation to join this group please leave a message at