The QLD Minister for Health, the Honourable Shannon Fentiman, has announced five key initiatives to improve maternity care provision in Queensland as part of a $42 million pledge by the QLD Government. However, these initiatives fail to address midwife-led services; priorities determined in a roundtable with key stakeholders just a month ago and in line with consumer expectations of access to care of choice, continuity of care and services close to home.
‘Additional training for GPs, and the proposed boosting of First Nations midwifery models of care is a positive step, however we need to increase midwifery continuity of care targets to make a meaningful impact. You can’t fix regional maternity services without midwives,’ said Chief Midwife Alison Weatherstone.
Midwives are primary maternity care providers of antenatal, birth and postnatal care as well as sexual and reproductive healthcare which women in rural and regional Queensland are struggling to access.
ACM recommends an expansion of Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) models of care, as well as new midwifery-led care locations, publicly funded homebirth and equitable workforce incentives.
This would go a long way to solving equity and access issues as well as providing working conditions and sustainable workloads that midwives seek, ensuring greater retention of the existing workforce. These facts have been overlooked however, with the Qld Government focusing on short term initiatives and costly locums rather than investing in a stable, permanent workforce solution.
ACM Chief Midwife Alison Weatherstone said midwives working to their full scope of practice is key.
“When midwives are able to provide continuous care to families, mothers and babies win. The current initiatives the QLD Government are proposing are not a viable long term solution.”
“We can only assume that detail around these initiatives and further announcement of funding allocation will focus on midwifery led care and call on the QLD Government to ensure investment is directed where it will be most effective.”