Petition for a Publicly Funded Homebirth Program in Northern NSW
Current data from Birth, Deaths and Marriages shows that the Far North Coast of NSW has one of the highest homebirth rates in Australia. Recent restrictive changes to Private Midwifery practice have drastically reduced the number of practising midwives in our community. Yet Northern NSW Local Health District continues to deny women the choice to birth at home under a publicly funded homebirth scheme. Home birth for healthy women, with a registered Midwife in attendance, is scientifically proven to have outcomes equal to, or better than hospital birth, with fewer interventions and higher levels of satisfaction. There are numerous publicly funded homebirth programs running successfully in NSW & other states. Unassisted home birth rates are rising in our community because some women will continue to birth at home but without the choice of a legal and skilled attendant, often due to affordability, or lack of access to a private midwife. We understand that the Northern NSW Local Health District has a Publicly Funded Homebirth program proposal ready for implementation. They have been considering this proposal for over 12 months despite numerous letters of request from local families for a home birth service. We, the undersigned call upon Northern NSW Local Health District to implement a Publicly Funded Homebirth Program as a priority. This petition will be presented to the CEO & Board of Northern NSW Local Health District and local MPs.