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Maternity reforms failing: ACM

Date Updated:

Australian College of Midwives

Obstetricians are holding the Federal Government’s maternity reforms to ransom, according to the Australian College of Midwives.

ACM spokesperson and University of Western Sydney associate professor of midwifery Hannah Dahlen said many obstetricians were refusing to enter into collaborative arrangements with midwives, as required under the reforms.

“Many of us have approached obstetricians and the answer has been no and sometimes the response has been ruder than no, along with - don’t contact us again, I will never collaborate with an independent midwife.

“We knew that was going to happen.

“We have a very powerful medical lobby in this country. They are desperate not to lose their sizeable market share of births…there’s huge money to be made.

“We want more choice not less. Obstetricians obviously find that incredibly threatening.”

Since Health Minister Nicola Roxon introduced the changes last November, only an estimated 40 midwives have become eligible to provide Medicare rebates to patients.

Ms Dahlen said it was time the government reviewed the need for a collaborative arrangement.

“The Minister was very clear that if these reforms do not work because there was a problem with not collaborating, she would re-look at the legislation,” she said.

“It’s time now to re-look at this – it’s not working. There’s no evidence that this is going to lead to better care for women.”

Ms Dahlen said the “very low number” of eligible midwives was not surprising given a similar agreement-based system in the United States had also failed.

“In the United States, midwives have successfully lobbied to overturn the legislation in about 10 states, based on the fact it was restricting women’s choice,” she said.
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