A sad state of affairs: it seems that continuity of midwifery care is the last thing on anyone’s political mind:
To say I am confused would be an understatement; two urgent issues: Insurance and the practice role of a midwife: for months I have been asking the question can a Midwife be a support person or advertise as a doula? to me a Midwife is a Midwife is a Midwife, not a doula or support person.....these are all roles within the scope of a midwife...I remember as a registered nurse you could not work as a career I would think the same would apply to midwifery; however due to the recent kerfuffle surrounding private insurance for midwives and the requirements of the regulatory agency... midwives have been looking at different ways of presenting themselves to elevate some of these problems and still support the woman and her choice. I have written twice to NMBA asking for clarification on this issue... Today a colleague highlighted to me that on the AHPRA website under frequently asked questions; ‘Regency of Practice’ gives a definition of what is meant by ‘Practice’ http://www.nursingmidwiferyboard.gov.au/Codes-Guidelines-Statements/FAQ.aspx
Q2. What is meant by ‘Practice’?
A. Practice means any role, whether remunerated or not, in which the individual uses their skills and knowledge as a nurse or midwife. For the purposes of this registration standard, practice is not restricted to the provision of direct clinical care. It also includes working in a direct non-clinical relationship with clients, working in management, administration, education, research, advisory, regulatory or policy development roles, and any other roles that impact on safe, effective delivery
In effect this means if you are a registered midwife you cannot act as a support person or a doula, because we have the knowledge and skills of a midwife.....this has far reaching repercussions and when you add the recent problem with the MIGA insurance into the picture it gets worse.
The MIGA cover clearly states you are not covered for
“midwifery services which are provided by you to a public patient (even if the public patient is in a private hospital).This then leads me to the question when you are working in a hospital and you finish your shift and you stay back to support the woman because you choose too...because of the bond you have with your woman...this may be seen as interference as the woman may look to you for a clinical decision... in effect this will not be permitted as you will not be covered by the hospitals vicarious liability insurance because your role is a midwife not a support person.....I may have got the wrong end of the stick, but what’s good for one is good for all....
We as midwives are now backed into a corner... One would think with the Medicare provider number and the maternity reforms midwives would be rejoicing ...however the long arduous road to credentialing / visiting rights to hospitals have created many problems; the process is taking too long; the inability of obstetricians to agree to collaborative arrangements have left the maternity reforms in tatters....and the personal cost to many midwives trying to make this work is enormous; I am paying MIGA for the privilege to be insured only to find that I am not and its good money going out the window, I don’t have money to waist, however it seems that MIGA is profiting very well from this venture. At the end of the day both women and midwives are suffering here and the process are very unclear.... the only time you find out that something is wrong is when you have been reported... this is all unacceptable.
I have had good support from the Minister of Health WA, Office of the Chief Nurse/Midwife and the Chief Medical Officer, however this is not enough, no one can make collaboration happen:
As for collaborative arrangements, I have written over 40 letters to GP Obstetricians and Obstetricians asking for a collaborative agreement and have had one response, politely saying ‘no’. Where does this leave me...absolutely no where?
The other day I went with my client to meet her obstetrician, you know build bridges, be nice etc and he could barley look at me...he never addressed me once, there was no professional courtesy. How are we to move forward when we are met with such resistance.... it is a sad state of affairs. My client employed an independent midwife so that she could have continuity of care with a midwife, she choose a midwife for her knowledge and experience to enable her to facilitate the birth she wants knowing that the midwife would support her through this process.... this now is even a problem.
I also pay premium insurance through MIGA and it seems for nothing: I have no hospital access, no collaborative arrangement; yes I do have women booked, now I am in a quandary what to do; that I cannot be a support person because this may be a reportable offence this leaves us nowhere to move......my only saving grace is that I have access to a hospital as a casual midwife but this is only a temporary solution so one client is safe...as for the others I will have to bare the consequence as I have committed to being a support person... something has to give soon. I may have to look at not booking anyone further until the processes are in place and who knows when that will be...
Please if anyone has any further news on this issue let me know...
Very frustrated and disillusioned eligible midwife: