In 2010, The Federal, State and Territory Health Ministers pledged their commitment to implementing a 5 Year National Maternity Services Plan.
A key priority of this plan is the credentialling of Medicare-eligible midwives at public hospitals. As outlined in a Media Release from Maternity Choices Australia this week, this new option has now been established at the Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital (RBWH).
Whilst this is a wonderful step in the right direction, and will provide more pregnancy and birth care options for the women of north Brisbane, there is still more work to be done.
With only 1 year left to go with the Plan, only 7 other public hospitals, all in Queensland (Toowoomba, Bundaberg, Nambour, Ipswich, Gold Coast, Redlands and Logan Hospitals), have made this option available to women.
“Maternity Choices Australia estimates that each birth with a private midwife saves the Government up to $2000. Over 1000 women in Queensland having birthed with private midwives since Toowoomba Base Hospital credentialed the first Medicare-eligible midwife over three years ago; this represents a saving of up to $2 million for the Queensland State Government.” - Maternity Choices Australia
Maternity Choices Australia (MCA) has started an online campaign encouraging the Federal, State and Territory Governments to honour the commitment that was made to Australian women.
“This is an option all women should have access to. We encourage all hospitals to put the systems in place to give the full range of maternity care choices to women in their communities” said Leah Hardiman, President of Maternity Choices Australia (MCA).
There is more that can be done to improve access to continuity of midwifery care by credentialling Medicare eligible midwives at public hospitals.
If you feel as strongly about this as we do, and would like to help make our voices heard, can you please consider signing this petition and sharing with your friends and colleagues to help bring about more change. https://www.communityrun.org/petitions/improve-women-s-access-to-high-quality-maternity-care-with-medicare-eligible-midwives
Our FBC Committee Members will keep you updated on the various fundraising, consumer representative and information events they participate in during the year.