Midwives Australia are not a lobby group, however, some of our members and Board are available for interviews and can be contacted through Midwives Australia.
Midwives Australia is keen to inform the community and to provide media releases on maternity issues.
Liz Wilkes is the media contact for interviews related to private practice midwives and midwives working in continuity of care. Liz can be contacted on 0423580585.
IN THE NEWS
We constantly strive to ensure that reporting about midwives and midwifery in Australia is fair, balanced, unprejudiced and just. Here you will find reports in the media that we have initiated, supported or assisted with.
BMJ Open Access Research
Download the complete Research in PDF format below:
Standing Committee on Health Decision will give women greater access to Midwives and improve Care
Saturday August 11, 2012
Contact: Liz Wilkes 0423 580 585
Today’s decision by the Standing Committee on Health to enable midwives to collaborate with hospitals rather than individual doctors provides a welcome relief to Medicare provider midwives struggling to provide Medicare funded care to women.
“Until now government policy designed to provide women with Medicare access to private midwifery care has been to date severely restricted by obstetricians not wanting to be involved” said Liz Wilkes President of Midwives Australia.
“The recognition from every Health Minister across the country that midwives work collaboratively with doctors in hospitals and do not need individual doctor sign off is entirely appropriate. We applaud the sense they have shown” said Ms Wilkes
Midwives Australia has seen the legislation requiring midwives to collaborate with individual doctors has created unnecessary administrative burden and has created opportunity for medical veto over women’s access to Medicare rebates.
“What we are seeing here is the opportunity for midwives to develop license agreements and contracts with hospitals which enable true collaborative practice to continue”
“The whole hospital system relies on obstetricians being in the right place to deal with referrals of women. It is not a change in safe practice.”
“Midwifery care should not and does not require the presence of an individual doctor at a tertiary hospital when many other doctors are on staff, what matters is that there is a doctor present who is able to accept referral and transfer as doctors are employed to do this on a daily basis.”
“This week a Melbourne study found the care of a known midwife reduced the need for a caesarean section and actually improved outcomes. It is comforting to know that all Health Ministers agree on the need to make the care of a known midwife more accessible to Australian women.” said Ms Wilkes.
Darwin Welcomes Home Cycling Midwife MARG PHELAN
Saturday June 30, 2012
Fremo Medical Clinic and Birth Centre
Please see the below as an example of what can be done by a passionate person. Vicki Chan who is an amazing Sunshine Coast midwife, has accomplished the following. Midwives Australia would like to support this initiative of Vicki’s – please consider what you can contribute:
It has been almost a year since I headed to the Fremo Medical Centre in the Kawangware slum in Nairobi, with a dream and a promise. Who would have imagined a month, $10,000 and a whole lot of passion and determination, could make such an impact on a place and the lives it revolves around? Physically for sure, the changes were dramatic,with water now on tap, flush toilets, cleaning equipment, linen, medical supplies and new birth-rooms (photos included of before and after) but even more powerful was a shift in practices, attitudes, in the very essence of how women were cared for. I talked about it here in a Facebook post…
“I remember when I went to the Fremo Medical Centre in the Kawangware slum of Nairobi, Kenya to help set up a birthplace… I was told “These women don’t want what you have to offer! Nobody tells them to birth like that (on their backs on a narrow table) they just do it… They need to be yelled at, otherwise they wouldn’t know how to push the baby out… They won’t be choosing to have mothers/friends and certainly never husbands with them, they feel shame in childbirth and don’t want anyone to see them… They won’t be doing all that lovely-dovey stuff with their babies,; in fact they never even look at them when they are born, just put their face against the wall” I assured that I was just coming with an offering, the women were free to take it or leave it! How fast things changed in that little clinic … within the week, women were kneeling, standing or squatting to give birth gently and unhindered, supported by their loved ones (even husbands!!)…they were scooping up their babies, kissing and smelling them and to add to the shock of the staff, they were SMILING! “We have never seen such a thing before Madam” A midwife from the US who spent time there this year described it as a haven of love! Birth outcomes as measured by morbidity and mortality have been outstanding…one cannot measure the happiness.”
As stated by Chrity Turlington of EVERY MOTHER COUNTS; ”Safe motherhood is more than the prevention of death and disability. It is respect for every woman’s humanity, feelings, choices and preferences. However, too often, pregnant women seeking maternity care receive ill treatment that ranges from relatively subtle disrespect of their autonomy and dignity to outright abuse: physical assault, verbal insults, discrimination, abandonment, or detention in facilities for failure to pay.”
Women at Fremo’s now have access to safe, respectful care during pregnancy and birth. They have opportunity to access safe birth control. They are part of an ongoing support network for family well-being and personal growth. Thank you to all who have supported this project to get this far. As Fremo’s fame grows, more women are coming to have their babies there. This is wonderful but alas, this means costs have escalated. They still have no vehicle. Staffing is limited. Supplies are low.
I am returning soon for further training and support. I have saved my airfares but need some working cash and am here to ask your help.
A little ($2 for a bottle of bleach) or a lot… (would love to buy the property complete with surrounding dwellings for staff quarters at around $120,000) but most likely something in the middle would be deeply appreciated. Every last cent will be spent on the clinic.
Gloves, IV equipment, suture material, resuscitation equipment, medications (anti-haemorrhage/HIV/antibiotics/antimalarial)
Policy manual (yes, you read that right)
Concrete out the front of the clinic and ramp over ditch to reduce dust and mud and improve access via car or foot
Small business projects for women (eg. sewing)
Outreach service deep into slums
Training program for midwives/doctors throughout Nairobi
Buy the property (she’s dreamin’ now)
Replicate the clinic in other areas.
Ongoing costs include
Wages and training for doctors/midwives/ancillary staff
Funds for transferring women to large hospital when necessary (in the past, if no money women would be left unattended or held prisoner in the hospital)
We are still ‘in process’ with setting up a charity organisation so for now it is still a matter of entrusting me with the money. This way, I dish out the money as work is done or supplies purchased. Here’s my blog to show last year’s work.
Write to me here if you want to sponsor a particular project.
Vicki L Chan
Please clearly mark “FREMO” and your name thank-you.
If you wish to send larger amounts for wages etc this is the direct link to Fremo’s account. For the record, Moffat is a man of impeccable standards. I would trust him with my life.
Account Name: Fremo Medical Centre
Bank Name: Equity
Bank Address: Naivasha Road, Kawangware, Nairobi, Kenya
Account Number 0630296517623
Bank Code: 068
If you wish to accompany me or visit the clinic at some other time let me know. I am sure each of you has something to share. I also have links with a school, an orphanage, a group that assists those in IDP (Internally displaced people) camps, and a remarkable young man who helps kids find their families after being separated through political upheaval. I can arrange for you to go on Safari with my friend “Safari Mike” for a great price! Our plan is though to sponsor a kid from the slum to come along too!
Please dig deep. I think about what would happen if even 50 people donated a day’s wages and just weep with the possibilities. Where is my buddy Gina Rinehart when l need her? Seriously though, I’ll be stoked with whatever turns up. Donations for fundraising always gratefully accepted.
Much love and thanks to you all for your support however it comes (those hugs have not gone astray!)
Your for Better Birth
QCMB research examines the myths behind Queensland’s rising caesarean rates
18 January, 2012
Researchers from UQ’s Queensland Centre for Mothers & Babies have explored the reasons for the rising rates of caesarean sections in Queensland.
With caesarean rates increasing by 74 percent in the past 20 years, Professor Sue Kruske, director of the QCMB, said there is a myth among the health industry that women are driving the increases in the caesarean section rates.
“Some of the most commonly quoted reasons for the increase include the rising age of women having babies and the demand of women in the private hospitals for non-medically indicated caesarean sections, the ‘too posh to push’ women,” Professor Kruske said.
Professor Kruske said the QCMB research was based on a survey of more than 22,000 Queensland mums every two years, and aimed to discover what their maternity experience was like.
“When it comes to caesarean sections, our research shows the increase seems to be largely driven by the recommendations of doctors, particularly in private hospitals where Queensland has the highest rate of caesarean section deliveries (47.9 percent) in Australia.
“This would indicate the notion that women are choosing to have a caesarean because they are ‘too posh to push’ is incorrect.”
Professor Kruske said the trend towards caesarean sections was alarming with 34 percent of all births in Queensland now caesarean compared to 19.5 percent in 1989.
“Our research indicates women are not making properly informed decisions when it comes to caesarean deliveries,” she said.
“Notably, only about half of all women (52.4 percent) birthing in public and private facilities reported making an informed decision to have a planned caesarean before labour.
“And only one-fifth (19.9 percent) of women made an informed decision to have a caesarean section when the procedure was unplanned.”
Professor Kruske said the QCMB was about to undertake the latest instalment of the Having a Baby in Queensland Survey in the next few months.
“The survey is crucial to understanding women’s needs and preferences for improved maternity care in Queensland,” she said.
The Centre is an independent centre based at The University of Queensland and is funded by the Queensland Government. The role of the Centre is to work towards consumer-focused maternity care that is integrated, evidence-based and provides optimal choices for women in Queensland.
Media: Professor Sue Kruske, 0418 882 337 or 3346 3081, or Andrew Dunne, QCMB Communications Manager, 0433 364 181.
David Davis Must Intervene to Protect Mothers and Babies
Thursday 27 October 2011
Contact: Liz Wilkes: 0423580585 Jenny Gamble: 0404 080 518
Recent media has outlined a crisis in Victorian maternity units, with over 200 women giving birth in Accident and Emergency or on gurneys in hallways.
“Today Victorian Health Minister David Davis’ maternity crisis got worse as it has been revealed that due to a lack of funding 60% of newly graduated midwives have not been offered a ‘graduate place’ in maternity units across Victoria.” said Liz Wilkes, President of Midwives Australia a national education and professional body supporting midwives.
“These midwives are educated to international best practice in a three year bachelor degree, with extensive experience in providing continuity of midwifery care. This care is considered the gold standard and has been acknowledged by Federal Health Minister, Nicola Roxon as the future for midwifery in Australia.” said Dr Jenny Gamble, Professor of Midwifery at Griffith University.
Danielle Rose is one graduate who is without a job next year. As a mature age student, Danielle bought years of previous knowledge to her studies. She now has a $30,000 HECS liability and no employment, despite nursing and midwifery ranking as the highest priority area for health workforce recruitment and retention.
“Minister Davis has also not facilitated hospital visiting access to experienced Medicare funded midwives in Victoria. This creates undue strain on hospital staff and unnecessarily costs the Victorian state government.” said Ms Wilkes.
“Midwives groups have sought an audience with Minister Davis and despite a formal request and repeat phone calls a meeting time has not been granted.” said Ms Wilkes
“Midwifery students educated through the Bachelor of Midwifery represent the future of care, these midwives have the capacity to reform the maternity system that is still a broken mess and provide much better physical and emotional safety to women across Victoria. We urge Minister Davis to guarantee a place for every midwifery graduate.” said Dr Gamble.
Midwifery Graduates will assemble on the steps of Victorian Parliament in Spring St From 1pm TODAY
Contact at event: Danielle Rose 0414 886 455
Disadvantaged Women to Get Greater Access to Midwife Care
by David Iliffe
22 September 2011
Another first for Toowoomba!
Toowoomba’s “My Midwives” will provide ante and post-natal support at Young Women’s Place, a group that supports women under the age of 30 in crisis – and the service will be bulk-billed.
The move will give many young women access to a healthier pregnancy than they would normally be able to afford.
On Breakfast, I had a chat with Young Women’s Coordinator Dianne Auchettl about why this was such a significant step forward.
Click here to listen to the audio.
Insurers deliver mother of blows to private midwives
August 27, 2011
PRIVATE practice midwives who attend a woman during labour and then transfer her to a public hospital to give birth have been warned they could be deregistered if they even enter the delivery suite to comfort and support their client.
The sector’s indemnity provider, Medical Insurance Group Australia, has advised almost 200 private midwives – who it insures under an agreement struck last year with the federal government – to tell their pregnant clients of the situation, which has been prompted by what midwifery representatives say are vexatious complaints against midwives.
”We recommend you let them know in advance that, if they are transferred to a public hospital … you will not be insured for any care you provide to the woman after her admission,” the company’s CEO, Mandy Anderson, wrote. ”It is much better dealing with it before the event happens so all are clear what to expect.” Midwives who choose to stay with women despite the advice would risk their right to practise, because they are required by law to have insurance or a specific exemption for all aspects of the care they provide.
Tracy Martin, the president of the Australian College of Midwives, said she was seeking urgent advice from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia over whether non-invasive care, such as encouraging a woman verbally or wiping her skin, is to be considered part of formal practice and therefore potentially a breach of registration conditions.
”It’s about the [board] failing to clarify the difference between a support person and a midwife,” Ms Martin said. ”We don’t know where to go from here.”
A spokeswoman for the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, which oversees the board, said it was, ”dealing with it and preparing a response”.
The legislated terms of midwives’ registration have not changed, and The Saturday Age understands the new advice was prompted by a doctor’s complaint that a midwife who applied a heat pack to a woman’s back after the hospital had assumed control of her care was working outside her registration conditions.
Ms Anderson, from the insurer, said access to a midwife throughout labour was, ”very important to continuity of care … We really understand the difficult position this puts [midwives] in.”
But the terms of its agreement with government prevented the company from extending cover to public hospitals, Ms Anderson said.
A spokeswoman for the Australian Private Midwives Association, Liz Wilkes, said: ”I don’t feel comfortable abandoning someone’s care. Everyone’s in agreement. We’re just there to give advocacy and support, but we can’t provide that care as [the law] is currently worded.”
AUSTRALIAN PRIVATE MIDWIVES ASSOCIATION
NEWS RELEASE (Friday 26 August, 2011)
Reform Basket case: Roxon forces midwives to collaborate, now they face regulatory action if they do
Contact: Liz Wilkes: 0423580585
In a further debacle with Commonwealth maternity reform self- employed midwives have found themselves at a legislative intersection that could prevent them from supporting women in birth. The impact of Commonwealth legislation guiding the conditions of midwife insurance and definition of practice by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia leaves self- employed midwives in breach of conditions of registration merely for providing emotional support or advocacy to women who are admitted patients of public hospital.
“National registration has been a headache from the very beginning” Marie Heath, President of the Australian Private Midwives Association stated today “
Coupled with poor consultation with self-employed midwives and no appropriate modelling of the way midwives could work using Medicare we have ended up with completely unworkable conditions.”
APMA has been working hard to obtain clarification from the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia about the definitions, which effectively require self-employed midwives to handover care and walk away from their clients in the event that they become a patient in a public hospital.
“This is an everyday event for self-employed midwives.” Ms Heath added,
“We are required to consult with obstetricians. Now, we face potential regulatory action if this occurs in a hospital.”
The clients of self-employed midwives around the country have echoed Ms Heath’s concerns about lack of government and regulator response to this problem. Rebecca Jenkinson who is due to have her third baby in less than 3 weeks said the situation is extremely distressing. “My midwife has been with me from the day I realised I was pregnant again. I find it unfathomable that at the moment I might need her most, she would be unable to be with me.”
Ms Heath indicated that a significant response from Health Minister Nicola Roxon would be required to resolve this situation.
“The insurers hands are tied, they have tendered to provide a product determined completely by the Commonwealth and now are left to piece together a solution. It has been a characteristic of these reforms that whenever a problem is encountered everyone appears to turn their heads to avoid looking for a solution. It is time for the Commonwealth and the NMBA to get real about the workforce the Medicare reforms are targeted at – the self-employed midwife – and to sort this out immediately. Women who have been receiving Medicare funded care are now being left at the door and this is completely unacceptable.”
Marie Heath President Australian Private Midwives Association
Rules on patient safety hit midwives ( July 10, 2011 )
Cathy O’Leary Medical Editor, The West Australian
Midwife collaboration “disappointing” ( June 14, 2011 )
Call for certainty ( May 21, 2011 )
click on the picture above to enlarge..