What will change for midwives and women post 2010?

For further information, contact Melissa Maimann at Essential Birth Consulting. OK, so we know home birth (with a midwife) will be illegal after 2010, unless it is via one of 2 or 3 public home birth programs currently being offered in the State (and only to a select few women).

So I've had a look through the legislation to identify areas of concern. I'd like to share with you what I have found:

For the purposes of this Act, a person is an eligible midwife if the person: (3) Without limiting the requirements that may be specified in regulations made for the purposes of paragraph (1)(b), those requirements may include one or more of the following: (a) a requirement to hold particular qualifications in midwifery; (b) a requirement to have particular experience in midwifery; (c) a requirement to be credentialled by a particular body.

Qualifications - great. "particular experience" is worrisome. Does this "experience" mean that the midwife must have worked for x number of years in a hospital? Does it mean she will have had to have worked in hospital continuity of acre models? What about the private midwives who practice continuity of care as the only form of their practice?

(1) The Minister may approve a common form of undertaking to be given by an eligible midwife who wishes to become a participating midwife under this Act. Without limiting the generality of subsection (2), the common form of undertaking may make provision for any of the following matters: (a) the kinds of service to which the undertaking relates; (b) a specification of the premises at which the eligible midwife provides services of a kind to which the undertaking relates; (c) an assurance by the eligible midwife that the fee to be charged by him or her for a service that is covered by an item that is expressed to relate to a service provided by a participating midwife will not, except in the circumstances specified in the undertaking in accordance with paragraph (d), exceed the appropriate fee stated in the item; (d) increases of specified amounts in the maximum fee that may be charged under paragraph (c) in respect of services provided in circumstances specified in the undertaking.

So, the government can decide what services we provide (maybe no care of women post 42 weeks, no VBACs etc). And we cannot, as I had been assured, charge over and above the medicare rebate. I'm not sure how we can go 1-2 hour long antenatal visits for a mere $16. That would not even cover petrol. Let alone travel time. Maybe we'll need to do what obetetricians do and book 20-30 women a month. Sorry if we miss your birth. And, please have your baby via induction as it really will help us to schedule appointments and other births.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448