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Barrier for midwives working to full scope removed: Senate passes legislation to repeal collaborative arrangements.

17 May 2024

The Australian College of Midwives (ACM) welcomes the passing of the Removal of Collaborative arrangements Bill the unpopular “collaborative arrangement” requirements for midwives and nurse practitioners.

This Health Legislation Amendment for ‘Removal of Requirement for a Collaborative Arrangement’ Bill introduced into Parliament by Assistant Minister for Health and Aged Care the Hon. Ged Kearney MP in March, passed through the Senate tonight. This will come into effect from 1 November 2024 and ends the decade long barrier to direct access to Medicare rebates for care provided by Endorsed Midwives and Nurse Practitioners.  

Women will reap the benefits of the change through this removal of red tape meaning increased ability to directly access an endorsed midwife or nurse practitioner and to obtain Medicare rebates for midwifery care and greater access to the PBS. Endorsed midwives and nurse practitioners will be able to work autonomously and independently.

ACM’s Chief Midwife Alison Weatherstone congratulated the Government for introducing the change which has been sought by midwives for over a decade.  “Endorsed midwives are overjoyed” Ms Weatherstone stated, “There has been a requirement for a midwife to enter into an agreement with a doctor, which effectively, was at the discretion of the doctor. This has been a barrier to care for a midwife and in some areas has prevented midwives from working independently and prevented women from obtaining a Medicare rebate for the care.  We are very pleased that government has acted.”

Midwives and consumers around the country have lobbied for a long time for the removement of the arrangement.  “Unfortunately, these arrangements added a layer of red tape that was not necessary,” Ms Weatherstone added “Midwives work to their scope of practice and are required to consult and refer to obstetricians and other medical practitioners as required.  They have not needed this extra paperwork in place to work effectively with doctors.”

The Collaborative Arrangement Bill was passed in the Senate on Thursday 16th May.


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