With reference to the article “In Safe Hands’ in the Sunday Age.
I think Christine Tippett is actually giving a hint as to how RANZCOG is lobbying the federal government with reference to the Maternity Services Review. It’s OK to extend the ‘allowed’ practice of midwives in hospitals where we can keep an eye on them, BUT we can’t allow those maverick independents any freedom.
It’s the old strategy, divide and conquer. Divide the midwifery profession into the acceptable and the unacceptable …
The Victorian branch of RANZCOG (or was it RACOG then?) did the same thing in 1993 when the new Nurses Act was brought in. An 11th hour fax (everyone didn’t have email then) to the health minister claiming that it would be unsafe to remove the regulations (which required a doctor to supervise a midwife’s practice, amongst other items) resulted in the retention of the regulations until they sunsetted in 1996. Although the regulations have been dead and gone for more than a decade, many midwives in Victorian hospitals are still working under protocols that assume the historical restrictions that existed under the regulations.
I think the midwifery profession as a whole needs to strenuously object to the statement by Dr Tippett that “It’s important that there’s not federal funding for people who are engaged in dangerous practice”, in the context of the claim that some independent midwives attend vbac and twin births at home.
Our laws provide a means of regulating midwifery practice, as well as obstetric, dentistry, or any of the other health professions. Midwifery is not regulated by the obstetric profession. If Dr Tippett has information that leads her to believe a registered midwife has “engaged in dangerous practice”, surely the right thing to do would be to notify the regulatory body of the matter, rather than using the public media to set up a scare campaign against independent midwives. As with any other profession, the regulatory process is a carefully managed and is accountable. It’s not perfect (imho), but it’s what we have, and even midwives have a right to expect fairness in law.
Please tell me if I'm being paranoid here. If not, would everyone who cares about protecting the right of midwives to practise midwifery in any setting, whether they are employed by a health care provider or by the woman, please take this matter seriously. When a person of Dr Tippett's profile is willing to make a statement about midwives engaging in dangerous practice, we must conclude that midwifery is under threat from RANZCOG. And it's not about the twin births or vbacs at home. The issue is who chooses what's best for women?