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Midwifery peak says “Enough!” in QLD rural birth saga

27 March 2023

The ongoing situation, around Central Queensland maternity services challenges, being played out in the media is damaging to women. 

Alison Weatherstone ACM Chief Midwife says “Putting women in a position where fearmongering is rife and they are unsure of what will happen from day to day is not acceptable.”

The government has easily implementable solutions available. One solution, demonstrated by evidence and supported by current government policy, is midwifery continuity of care with a known midwife working as part of a multidisciplinary team.

“We know what the solution is, QLD Health knows what the solution is, we all know it…midwifery continuity of care is a key part of the solution. What we need now is for leaders at all levels – health service, government, midwifery and medical –to act immediately to reassure the public of the existing options, what is being done to further reinforce midwifery care and plans for medical support.”

Midwifery Group Practice (MGP) is a huge opportunity which can provide low risk women with local birth care, linked to medical services to ensure ease of transfer if medical care is required. This model is demonstrated to be safe in Australia, including in rural settings and evidence indicates better outcomes for women and babies within MGP care.  

Midwives having an AHPRA endorsement for scheduled medicines enables them to do even more for the women in their care including ordering pathology and radiology and prescribing relevant medications. The direct referral pathways to obstetrics when needed also means the use of endorsed midwives makes care more streamlined for women and families. Queensland has the largest number of endorsed midwives of any jurisdiction and has encouraged uptake of this extra qualification since it was introduced over a decade ago.

“Women need an immediate solution.  It’s unreasonable for this to continue to play on the anxiety of pregnant women any longer,” concluded Ms Weatherstone.

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