Anger over cut to obstetrics rebate

Interested in home birth, hospital birth or private midwifery care? Questions or comments? Email Melissa Maimann or call 0400 418 448. Link

... Some big Sydney hospitals have introduced caps, limiting the number of bookings they will take from women with low-risk pregnancies ...

Changes to the Medicare safety net that will exclude private obstetrics fees are expected to exacerbate the demand for beds, driven by the baby boom of recent years.

... there had been a 40 per cent rise in the number of births at RPA between 2000 and 2005.

"To ensure the safety of all women and their babies, RPA gives priority to women with high-risk pregnancies and has introduced a cap on low-risk pregnancies,'' ...

Women who cannot get into RPA are referred to nearby Canterbury Hospital.

The Royal Hospital for Women ... would take high-risk referrals from out-of-area women, but those with low-risk pregnancies who did not live in the area would be referred to their local hospital when the Royal did not have capacity ...

... Obstetricians reported a five to 10 per cent drop in demand since the [Medicare Safety net] changes took effect on January 1, but say the full impact will be felt in six months.

they fear that excluding private obstetrics from the safety net and limiting rebates to $463 a year will result in poorer outcomes for women ...

Changes to the Medicare Safety Net have made obstetricians less affordable. This has reduced the demand for private obstetric services as more and more women book into (free) public hospitals. It will be interesting to see what changes after November this year when women will, for the first time, be able to obtain medicare-rebatable private midwifery care for hospital births.

Melissa Maimann, Essential Birth Consulting 0400 418 448