I have some exciting news to share. Back in 2009 (it seems like a long time ago now), the Maternity Services Review recommended that appropriately qualified and skilled midwives be granted access to the PBS (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) and prescribing rights.
A Graduate Certificate in Midwifery university course was developed to provide midwives with the requisite qualifications to apply for "endorsement" on one's registration. Once the endorsement is granted, midwives may apply for a PBS prescriber number, order a script pad and finally have the ability to prescribe.
I am thrilled to have completed the Graduate Certificate in Midwifery that is required so that I can prescribe medications. This was a 6-month full-time course. I have passed both subjects (including a high distinction). It was a lot of work! The next steps for me are to apply to the Board for endorsement on my registration to prescribe medications, then to apply for a PBS prescriber number, and finally to get a script pad with my name and prescriber number on it. Once all of this is completed, I will be able to prescribe the medications that are commonly used in pregnancy, birth and in the postnatal and newborn period. Things like antibiotics, Vitamin K, Syntocinon, Anti-D, the pill, morphine, maxolon and so on.
This is a first for Australian midwives; there are currently only two midwives in the country who can prescribe. Official graduation is in April next year.
This is a huge step forward for Australian women accessing private midwifery care. It means greater continuity for women and their families.
We are awaiting visiting rights in most States of Australia, however, Ipswich, Toowoomba and Gold Coast Hospitals in QLD have got on with it and are leading the way with private midwife admitting rights. 2013 will be the year for other States to catch on, I am sure!
2009 - 2012 has been a slow, but quick period of time. Slow because so many changes were recommended in the National mMternity Services Review of 2009, and it has taken lots of time and lots of work to achieve some of those recommendations for Australian women and families. But quick because 3 years go by so very quickly and in a flash, it seems that so much has been achieved. The maternity reforms carried with them mixed feelings from women and professionals alike, but I believe that on the whole, women choosing care with eligible midwives are receiving far more than what they would have received pre-2009: eligible midwives can refer directly to obstetricians and paediatricians, meaning that women have easier access to specialist care when it is needed; Medicare benefits are available for care with an eligible midwife, bringing down the cost of care; collaboration has been formalised between eligible midwives and obstetricians providing women with certainty if obstetric care is needed; eligible midwives may apply for admitting rights when they become available; and very soon, eligible midwives may prescribe medications. I think all of this is really positive for women and families.