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Unleashing the midwifery workforce: midwives working to full scope of practice in primary maternity and health care. 

1 September 2023

Midwives working to their full scope of practice would significantly improve equity of access to safe maternity care, close to home for women in Australia. 

ACM welcomes the recent announcement that Professor Mark Cormack will lead the Unleashing the Potential of our Health Workforce Review, a review of scope of practice that was announced by the Health Minister Mark Butler earlier this year. 

Midwives are primary health practitioners who provide vital services for women, their babies and their families. Midwives working in Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) and private practice continuity models of care can provide all the care a woman needs during pregnancy, birth and beyond and refer to a doctor if the need arises. Endorsed midwives can also prescribe relevant medications and order diagnostic tests. 

Midwives are also qualified and well placed to provide care for the first 1000 days of a baby’s life and provide sexual and reproductive healthcare to the mother including prescribing medical abortion.  

“Expanding access to the Medicare Benefits Schedule and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for midwives will support midwives working to full scope and birthing families with access to service.” 

ACM Chief Midwife Alison Weatherstone says that nation-wide maternity care challenges havesa simple solution. “Midwives working to their full scope of practice in continuity settings would provide all women with equitable access to safe maternity care.” 

“Women want continuity of care with a known midwife because evidence proves it to be the best possible maternity care you can get in Australia.”    

“And Midwives want to work in these models of care. An expansion of MGPs would attract maternity professionals to all parts of Australia and keep them there, taking pressure off existing medical staff and resources.” 

ACM welcomes ongoing engagement with Professor Cormack around the review process. 

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