HOME-birth advocates have welcomed the Federal Government's reaction to the Maternity Services Review but say there is still a long way to go if women's choices are to be truly respected.
In April, the Leader reported that home-birth supporters were alarmed that births outside of hospitals and birthing centres could become illegal after July 1, 2010, unless issues over the indemnity of privately practising midwives were resolved.
The Federal Government, in its response to the review, has flagged the establishment of a new government-supported professional indemnity scheme for eligible midwives.
However, this PI insurance will not cover private home birth.
Does anyone ever hear the term "hospital birth advocates"? "Home birth advocates" seems to be thrown around, as if it's some sort of odd thing to want or to do. I would think that willingly putting yourself in a place that is intended for sick and dying people, when you're healthy and well, deserves more attention. Anyway .... back to the article:
... Other changes announced by the Government include the introduction of legislation that will give midwives access to the Medical Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for the first time.
But only for hospital birth.
... Maternity Coalition's national president, Lisa Metcalfe, welcomed the changes, especially those giving midwives access to Medicare and the PBS, but said many women would miss out on the proposed changes if national registration of all health professionals proceeds for it would effectively ban homebirth with a midwife.
"... we are taking a big step backward for a women's right to choose their place of birth,'' she said. "Our vision is for all Australian women to be able to choose where, how and with whom they birth.''