From July 2010 and the beginning of national registration midwives are registered separately by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia. This means that not all midwives are now nurses. Midwives are required to comply with a range of requirements detailed on the NMBA website http://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/
One new requirement is that all midwives must have professional indemnity insurance (PII) which covers all of their practice#. For many midwives working in employed practice this requirement is met by their employer. For private practice midwives there is a government sponsored insurance option available through MIGA.
* MIGA http://www.miga.com.au/
Midwives Australia is mindful that many midwives are confused by the requirements. For further assistance contact Midwives Australia firstname.lastname@example.org to receive practical advice about legislative compliance.
Midwives providing birth care (intra partum care) in the home are exempt from the requirement to hold PII, however they must have PII for antenatal and postnatal care in order to comply with the requirements of registration.
There are further compliance requirements for midwives providing homebirth care under this exemption which are also listed in the Associate section of the Midwives Australia website.
Once a midwife has an endorsement for scheduled medicines they may apply for a prescriber number from medicare. They can then prescribe medications according to the legislation in their state or territory. The can apply for and receive stationary for prescribing ( prescription pads and computer paper) from Medicare.
A frequently asked question is whether employed midwives who have this endorsement can prescribe medications for women within their employed status. The answer to this is yes if prescribing is included in the scope of practice for a midwife employed by the organisation that employs you.
The decision about what is within the scope of practice for a midwife in their employment remains with the employer. The employer is free to add prescribing according to the relevant state or territory legislation to the scope of practice for a midwife they employ if the choose to do so. Once this has occurred and is included on the appropriate organisational policies and guidelines (however named) then the midwife with an endorsement for scheduled medicines will use the hospital medication chart, usually the National Inpatient Medication Chart, as the mechanism for prescribing.