Privately practicing midwives and their patients get extra protection from today with Commonwealth Government-supported professional indemnity insurance now available.
This will make a real difference to expectant mums who can now elect to see a private midwife who will have Government subsidised insurance and from 1 November, have the cost of those services covered by Medicare.
… The Government wants to better support our expectant and new mothers and this insurance will help do that. It is a key part of the Rudd Government’s $120 million maternity reform package to provide women a greater choice in high quality, safe maternity services.
Mothers under the high quality care of eligible midwives will now be confident that their midwife has the proper professional indemnity insurance coverage.
The availability of this new professional indemnity insurance product also means eligible midwives will be able to meet the requirement under the new National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for all registered health practitioners to have appropriate insurance cover. This requirement comes into effect from 1 July 2010.
This new landmark insurance product, provided by Medical Insurance Group Australia, helps to underline the importance midwives play in providing safe maternity care in Australia. It also builds on the historic legislation passed by Parliament in March that will enable the women cared for by eligible midwives to benefit from access to the Medical Benefits Schedule and the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.
The Commonwealth-supported insurance will not cover services provided during homebirths. These services have a two year exemption from the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme …
… Midwife Tina Pettigrew from Geelong, Victoria, is one of many midwives who is excited about this new policy becoming available.
“This is a major step forward.” Pettigrew said. “To be able to look after a woman throughout her pregnancy, follow her into the hospital to have her baby and follow her home again afterwards to help her settle into being a new mother is what I’ve always wanted to do. Now I can to do all this with full indemnity cover”
… “On behalf of all midwives, I wish to thank the Health Minister Nicola Roxon for resolving the long running lack of professional indemnity insurance for midwives” said Associate Professor Hannah Dahlen, of the Australian College of Midwives. “The College also welcomes MIGA’s interest in providing this cover”.
The provision of insurance cover for private midwives is one of the necessary precursors to midwives gaining access to Medicare funding for their care from 1 November this year.
Medicare funded midwives will be able to work in practices in the community, with other midwives, with doctors and with allied health professionals as well as in hospitals to offer more women the choice of having one-to-one care from a known midwife throughout their pregnancy, labour, birth and early parenting.
“We know that women and their babies experience measurable benefits from one-to one care from a midwife,” Professor Dahlen said. “But midwives can’t take up this historic opportunity to provide Medicare services without professional indemnity insurance, which has not been available since 2002. That’s why we’re excited about the Federal Government’s moves to make indemnity accessible again”