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Homebirth SA Position Statement - Save Homebirth

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HELP US PROTECT A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO CHOOSE The Department of Health and Ageing is currently reviewing maternity services in Australia. At this point, Australian families will be unable to access maternity care with an independent midwife from July 2010, something the Homebirth Network and consumer groups maintain is the ‘gold standard’ in maternity care. The two issues Australian families face are: A new National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for Health Professionals will apply from 1/07/2010: • Draft ‘NRAS’ legislation (Bill B) requires health professionals to provide evidence of appropriate professional indemnity insurance upon renewal or application for registration. • Independent midwives are the only health professional in the scheme that cannot access insurance. • Practicing midwifery without registration is illegal and if unregistered midwives choose to practice beyond 1/07/2010 they can face a $30,000 fine or imprisonment (birthing families cannot be charged). • Australian families will not have access to maternity care with a registered independent midwife – the ‘gold standard’ in maternity care. No professional indemnity insurance for independent midwives: • At present, there are no private insurers prepared to cover independent midwives. • The Federal Government has confirmed that, while legislation will establish a new Government supported professional indemnity scheme for ‘eligible’ midwives, independent midwives will be excluded from this scheme. The Department has expressed their commitment to the improvement of maternity services and the importance of having a range of birthing options available to women. They are not demonstrating that commitment here. Furthermore, they are denying Australian families access to an evidence-based model of maternity care. We call for the following to occur to protect a woman’s right to choose: • That the Federal Government seriously consider a no-fault system similar to that in New Zealand. We appreciate implementation would involve a major overhaul of the insurance industry and is not a short term solution; • In the interim, for the Bill B exposure draft to be amended to include a transitional law that provides registration for independent midwives until insurance is secured OR until a no-fault system is implemented; • That the Federal Government extends the subsidised insurance they are providing to Obstetrician’s, and plan to provide to ‘eligible’ midwives, to include independent midwives; • That the expenses of a homebirth be claimable by the mother through the tax system (a method similar to claiming the baby bonus) with the maximum amount payable to the value of maternity care in the hospital system where the outcome is vaginal birth without intervention. Tanya Bingham On behalf of the Homebirth Network of SA Inc Committee


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