MEMBER STATEMENT: 25th October 2023
Midwives Insurance Gap Affects Women’s Care
It has been identified that the sole insurance policy for endorsed midwives has an exclusion which affects provision of maternity care. Specifically, midwives Professional Indemnity Insurance (PII) policy for endorsed midwives, and its Healthcare Practice Policy, contracted by Government, exclude intrapartum care (early labour care) provided outside of a hospital. This also affects MBS item number 82116 which cannot be claimed until further notice.
Chief Midwife Alison Weatherstone states: ‘this gap in insurance cover has significant and negative implications for a woman’s choice of care. It does not allow midwives to work to full scope of practice, particularly in primary care.
It impacts continuity of midwifery care, the evidence-based gold standard of maternity care. It impacts Birthing On Country models of care, priority populations and women planning hospital birth but wanting in-home midwifery support during the early stages of their labour.
It requires an immediate resolution from Government’.
ACM seeks a resolution of this issue effective immediately as it poses a risk to women and their families’ care as well as midwives. Furthermore, if not urgently resolved, ACM advocates strongly for the Government to indemnify midwives providing this care until a resolution is determined.
See the letter from the Department of Health here for further information.
Midwives are exempt from a requirement to hold PII for home birth under the National Law. However, they are required to hold insurance for all other aspects of care. The identified gap is for any care by a currently insured midwife provided outside of hospital, during the intrapartum period. This includes early labour care where the woman is planning a hospital birth.
ACM has been actively liaising with all key stakeholders including the insurer, MIGA, the Department of Health and the Government to identify a workable approach to resolving this issue. Importantly it affects women’s choice of care and the privately practising midwife model of care. It also affects the ACCHO sector and other businesses who employ midwives to provide the continuum of care.
ACM calls on the Government to provide a timely resolution to this issue to minimise the impact on women, their families, midwives provision of care and a workable insurance solution.
ACM Media Contact:
Alison Weatherstone, Chief Midwife: 0423 116 016