The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) is calling on the Government to focus on prioritising the midwifery workforce and the first 2000 days in the upcoming Federal Budget as a mechanism for improving long term health outcomes like chronic disease. The ACM pre-budget submission builds on current priority areas for government focusing on Building Midwifery Capacity, Increasing Access to Midwifery Continuity of Care and Facilitating Multidisciplinary Care.
ACM Chief Midwife Alison Weatherstone states, “There are unequivocal lifelong health benefits and reductions in chronic health issues when we reduce prematurity and low birth weight, increase breastfeeding and improve mental well being during the perinatal period. Midwifery continuity of care has been shown to benefit women, babies and families on all measures and we are seeking Federal Government support in the upcoming budget to maximise access to primary maternity care.”
“Midwifery continuity of care also allows midwives to work to their full scope of practice, which they are trained for. The midwifery profession’s skills are underutilized; this needs to change.”
ACM calls on the Federal Government to fund midwifery MBS items and primary maternity care models in the upcoming budget.
“Funding models that prioritise midwifery continuity of care can be achieved through MBS items that were approved 4 years ago but have not been implemented. They could also be better supported by medium term reform that includes block and bundled funding for maternity care. It is essential that the Federal Government take the reins on maternity care to ensure that we increase equity and access to services,” Ms Weatherstone added.
The workforce shortage is also a focus.
“We need to fund clinical placements for students and HELP debt removal for midwives particularly in rural areas.”
“It is critical that the Government funds initiatives to grow and incentivise the midwifery workforce, much as it has for other health professions and that they are then supported by expanding primary maternity care models with midwifery continuity of care as this is where the workforce wants to work,” Ms Weatherstone concluded.
ACM is meeting with Government this week to discuss the pre-budget submission and seek support for funding better outcomes for women and families.
ACM's 2024 Pre-Budget Submission