Thursday, September 11, 2008

midwifery debate in newspapers

I sent the following letter to The Age in response to a small article 'Doctors Attack Midwives Proposal' (most of this was published in Letters to the Editor 12 Sept)

The statements by the Australian Medical Association, reported in The Age (In Brief p10, 11/12/08) saying the Federal Government’s plans to extend the role of midwives “could threaten the lives of mothers and their babies” and “there was a greater chance of a baby dying during birth if born at home” are not based on any evidence.
Homebirths attended by midwives in Victoria are reported to the government’s Perinatal Data Collection Unit, and reports are published annually. The statistics for women who intended homebirth but transfer before or during labour are also available. Although these reports cannot give specific information on individual cases, the data do not suggest any cause for concern about the midwives’ competence in practising midwifery.
I am an independent midwife, so I obviously have an interest in asking for the right of reply. However, I do not want special treatment – I believe newspapers should look for and report on the truth. In this case the homebirth midwifery profession is small and poorly funded, threatened with extinction, and we are being attacked by a huge, well organised, and well resourced organisation.
Joy Johnston

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