Thursday, October 9, 2008

All Australian legislation makes reference to Indemnity Insurance for (independent) midwives:

South Australia currently has the Nurses and Midwives Bill 2008 going through parliament (As laid on the table and read a first time, 23 September 2008) – what is good about this legislation is that the definition of
midwifery means any treatment, care or advice provided by a person to — (a) a woman in relation to her pregnancy; woman or child in relation to the birth of the child, (whether such treatment, care or advice is provided)
‘midwifery’ ( is much more defined in the SA Bill than the Nurses & Midwives Act 2006 WA ('midwifery' means the practice of assisting a woman in childbirth) our definition of 'midwifery' is very broad– however definitions aside, both legislations puts restrictions on midwives when it comes to indemnity insurance.

This is the South Australia Nurses & Midwives Bill 2008 section 41 page 27 states:
“41—Services providers to be indemnified against loss
1) A services provider must not, unless exempted by the Board, provide nursing or midwifery care through the instrumentality of a nurse or midwife unless insured or
15 indemnified in a manner and to an extent approved by the Board against civil
liabilities that might be incurred by the nurse or midwife or services provider in
connection with the provision of such care.
Maximum penalty: $10 000.
(2) The Board may, subject to such conditions as it thinks fit, exempt a services provider,
20 or a class of services provider, from the requirements of this section and may, whenever it thinks fit, revoke an exemption or revoke or vary the conditions under which an exemption operates.”

(This is very similar to the West Australian Nurses & Midwives Act 2006: Section 32 Professional indemnity insurance page 24 states.....2 “(a) that – (i) the nurse or midwife must hold professional indemnity insurance: (ii) the professional care provided by the nurse or midwife must be covered by professional indemnity insurance. (iii) the nurse or midwife must be specified or referred to in professional indemnity insurance......(b) that the professional indemnity insurance must meet the minimum terms and conditions approved by the Board.” 4. The Board may, on its own motion or on the application of a person the subject of a condition imposed under this section, on reasonable grounds, revoke or vary the condition.”

What does this all mean: the bottom line is the word “MAY” it is very open and powerful. This is the word that is detrimental for independent midwives. It means that The Board can insist that before you can register as a midwife you have to have indemnity insurance.

I know the Australian College of Midwives is actively trying to find and insurer before National Registration comes in, we have to work together to resolve this issue. This is a worldwide problem, not just synonamous to Australia.


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