Friday, January 25, 2013

South Australian Government proposal to protect midwifery practice

Consultation Paper

The Proposal to Protect Midwifery Practice in South Australia Consultation Paper (PDF 98KB) (opens in a new window) seeks comments from stakeholders and other interested persons on the proposal to legislate for the restriction of midwifery services in South Australia to a registered midwife or midwifery student acting under the appropriate supervision of a registered midwife.

For more detail click here.

Submissions will be received up until 5.00 pm, Friday 1 March 2013 and may be forwarded by:

Email: policy&
Protection of Midwifery Practice
Policy and Legislation Unit
Department for Health and Ageing
PO Box 287
Rundle Mall SA 5000
APMA will submit a response and we would appreciate comment from midwives who have an interest in the matter, as well as families or others who may be impacted by the proposals.

1 comment:

Joy Johnston said...

I have replied to this proposal:
Although the events that led to the recommendation by the Deputy State Coroner are tragic, I do not consider that legislation to protect midwifery practice in South Australia would or could achieve the desired aim of improved public safety.

• The choice that some women make, to give birth to their babies at home, takes into account individual social preferences and reasons. Since birth at home is the outcome of a spontaneous physiological natural process, there is no legislation that can control who a woman consults in pregnancy, or who is with, or not with, a woman who is labouring or giving birth spontaneously.
• A woman’s right to self-determination in making decisions such as where she gives birth, and with whom, will not be controlled or altered by legislation designed to protect midwifery practice.
• The introduction of legislation that protects the scope of one profession (midwifery) in one jurisdiction (South Australia) is likely to cause conflict within the recently introduced Health Practitioners National Law. If there truly is a need for statutory protection of practice, I submit that that should be via amendment to the National Law, and cover all regulated professions.

My specific concern in this matter is that by increasing the legislative control of the scope of midwifery practice, more women may choose to go ‘underground’ and avoid any professional care. There is already a significant and possibly growing ‘freebirth’ movement in some communities. Increased numbers of unattended births will inevitably lead to more delays in identifying complications, and in seeking appropriate professional attention, if the need arises.

It is my belief that the government’s support for the regulated midwifery profession, with funding for homebirth programs, protection of the full scope of private midwifery practice including hospital visiting access, and education for the public in safe maternity choices, will result in greater protection of public interest than the proposal to protect midwifery practice.