Wednesday, August 24, 2011

changes in my world

Today the sky is blue, there is a soft, warm breeze, and signs of Spring are everywhere. I haven't thrown open the doors and windows of the house yet, but I would love to be outside, enjoying the sunshine, allowing my skin to drink in that life-affirming warmth, going for a walk, or pottering in the garden.

But I need to work on supporting other midwives who are feeling threatened, and letting the world know what is happening here in Australia.

There is another change in my world, and only time will tell what it means to midwives and to the women who value our services.

Midwives have been told that a midwife colleague has been 'reported' to the regulatory authority for being with a woman in hospital, after transferring that woman to the hospital from planned home birth.

Under the new 'mandatory reporting' rules, a notification must be made if, in the course of professional practice, another regulated health professional "form[s] reasonable belief that a [midwife] has placed the public at risk of substantial harm due to practising their profession in a way tha constitutes a significant departure from accepted professional standards." (ANF Vic 2010)

In the case of an independent midwife transferring care of a woman from home birth to hospital, and continuing to support the woman in hospital: the standard practice of homebirth midwives for many years - that midwife is not covered by any professional indemnity insurance. The 'significant departure' from 'accepted professional standards' is that the midwife is 'practising' without insurance.

Until yesterday, midwives and hospitals accepted the presence of the midwife in a hospital birth suite in a non-clinical, non-decision-making role, as being outside the requirement for insurance. As recently as this past Saturday, I was with woman in a hospital birth suite. The woman had planned homebirth, in my care. I believe the 'risk of substantial harm' in that case would be greater if I abandoned that woman, rather than continuing with her in a supportive and caring role.  I am a midwife, with woman, and my practice must be centred on the woman, not on the setting or model of care, or even the availability of insurance.

However, a new, extremely narrow definition of 'Practice' has emerged, covering any situation in which a midwife uses her skills and knowledge as a midwife.

I will write about what this means as I get opportunities today.

Thankyou, readers, for your interest.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

As student midwife looking forward to eventually becoming a homebirth midwife this is so disheartening. It leads to a lack of confidence in our overseeing body, its become obvious that they have lost sight of what being a midwife is, it could not be more blindingly obvious when they take away a womans right to choose and be supported reguardless of her decisions that they are leading midwifery into a downward spiral towards a medicalised model of care. I find it abhorrent that they expect midwives to walk away from women because they require transfer or because they won't "conform" to care guidelines.
I am left feeling disgusted and traumatised.