ACM welcomes Senate recommendations for access to reproductive healthcare for all Australians.
Recommendations from the Senate Inquiry into universal access to reproductive healthcare were handed down today.
ACM CEO Helen White and Vice President Dr Zoe Bradfield presented to the Senate committee outlining the role midwives fulfil in the community, providing primary health care including reproductive healthcare through a woman’s entire life course, not just pregnancy and childbirth.
Dr Zoe Bradfield said “We are delighted to see recommendations to the Australian Government supporting midwives working to their full scope of practice, providing reproductive and women’s healthcare in Australia. The implementation of these recommendations would reduce barriers to access for all women.”
ACM are pleased to note that the Committee shared concerns raised by ACM that PBS coverage is limited for endorsed midwives to provide contraceptives, thus restricting the ability of midwives to work to their full scope of practice. The recommendation to implement outstanding endorsed MBS items is also a positive step.
Other recommendations include:
• The committee recommends that the National Scope of Practice Review considers, as a priority, opportunities and incentives for all health professionals working in the field of sexual and reproductive healthcare to work to their full scope of practice in a clinically safe way.
• The committee recommends that the Australian Government ensures that there is adequate remuneration, through Medicare, for general practitioners, nurses, and midwives to provide contraceptive administration services, including the insertion and removal of long-acting reversible contraceptives.
• The committee recommends that the Australian, state, and territory governments ensure that maternity care services, including birthing services, in non-metropolitan public hospitals are available and accessible for all pregnant women at the time they require them. This is particularly important for women in rural and regional areas.
• The committee recommends that the Australian Government implements outstanding recommendations made by the Participating Midwife Reference Group to the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) Review Taskforce regarding midwifery services and continuity of care.
• The committee recommends that the Australian Government works with the sector to increase birthing on country initiatives and other culturally appropriate continuity of care models.
Key recommendations from this inquiry provide the recognition that Midwives are expert primary maternity care providers and are key to providing universal access to reproductive healthcare in rural and regional settings.
ACM supports the implementation of the Senate’s recommendations in order to provide equitable reproductive healthcare to all Australians.