Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year to All

Dear Readers,

I am taking this opportunity to say thank you for reading this blog and next year I will endeavour to update it more frequently. This has been a new venture which I have enjoyed doing and hope to get some dialogue going next year with you all... Next month look out for the annual General Meeting Report and for all the new Board positions. Also watch out for exciting new merchandise from the WA ACM that you will be able to order and purchace hopefully online.....

Remember to follow this blog for the latest information regarding National Registration coming July 2010.....

Wishing you all a very Happy, healthy and safe New Year...... "May all your dreams turn into Goals"

Cheers Pauline

Friday, December 18, 2009

For those midwives wanting to read more about what is happening: .. please click on the link HEALTH LEGISLATION AMENDMENT (MIDWIVES AND NURSE PRACTITIONERS) BILL 2009

Its good to go to page three and read some of the definitions:

Schedule 1--Amendments relating to 1 medicare benefits and pharmaceutical 2 benefits

2 6 Subsection 3(1) 3 Insert: 4 participating midwife means: 5 (a) if the Minister has approved a common form of undertaking 6 under section 21A--an eligible midwife in respect of whom 7 there is in force an undertaking given by him or her and 8 accepted by the Minister under section 21B; or 9 (b) otherwise--an eligible midwife

We have to watch and see how this will be determined.... "the eligible midwife"

cheers Pauline

Collaboration- what does this entail?

There is a lot of discussion in Parliament about Midwives the role of the midwife, the role of the obstetrician.... and that word Collaboration. As we know obstetricians would like collaboration to mean they have the last say..... however we all now that this is not the true meaning of the word....
Senator Siewert- discussed issues surrounding consensus.....

Senator SIEWERT— One of the things I clearly know is that, if there is a power imbalance, consensus tends not to work, because at the end of the day the people holding the power can say, ‘I don’t care what you think; we’re the ones that sign on the dotted line at the end of this process.’ That seems to me to be one of the keys here. You can say that the medical practitioners will collaborate and want a consensus approach, but at the end of the day it is the medical profession and obstetricians who will be responsible for signing off on collaborative care arrangements under the current process, and that is what people are concerned about. It seems to me that it is clear that there is a power imbalance when you are happy with this amendment but patients, midwives and nurse practitioners are not happy with it. So that says to me that fundamentally there is an issue here.

Dr Pesce—All right. We have lots of very happy patients that do not seem to be unhappy with the power balance.........."

Senator SIEWERT—We have 2,000 emails from people saying that they do not like the current amendment.

Read more click the link: Community Affairs Legislation S12666.pdf

Also thanks Carolyn Hastie for inventing the wheel... take a look at her blog Thinkbirth:exploring birth, midwifery and related topics for further information:

Reference: Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Bill
2009; Midwife Professional Indemnity (Commonwealth Contribution) Scheme Bill
2009; Midwife Professional Indemnity (Run-off Cover Support Payment) Bill 2009
This is an uncorrected proof of evidence taken before the committee.
It is made available under the condition that it is recognised
as such.

Cheers Pauline

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

WA Branch Annual General Meeting

Welcome to the Australian College of Midwives: Lets have a voice!

We as midwives need to make a difference, one easy way of doing this is by joining the Australian College of Midwives. This assists the profession in being recognised when lobbing the Government regarding policy that affects childbirth, women and midwives. The greater the membership the greater the voice.... so please come and have your say....

Come to the WA Branch ACM annual general meeting and put forward your ideas........ It is time to become politically pro-active.

Notice of Annual General Meeting

ACM - WA Branch

Time: Thursday 17th December at 5:30pm

Location: KEMH - Agnes Walsh Lounge.

Kind Regards

Australian College of Midwives

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Review of the ACM Conference: The Magic of Midwifery

I will start by saying it was an excellent day the ACM education committee did very well in organising a fantastic program, there was something for everyone. The conference was held at City West a brilliant venue, lots of free parking, the food/refreshments were tantalising and the AV equipment went without a hitch, what more could you ask for.

There are several key components for organising these conference / educational days, initially you do need topics that will attract midwives to attend, and this can often be difficult because the needs and wants of midwives within the State are varied. Secondly it is choosing presenters that will be inspirational, because I think midwives attend these days not only for education but to be inspired and network. Work places can be stressful and the demands on a midwife can be enormous therefore it is imperative from time to time to refocus and remember why you became a midwife and be inspired to be ‘with woman’ with like minded people.

The day started with an inspiring opening by our ACM President....”we are in unprecedented times, there are many changes occurring and we need to get it right”. This was followed by Abby Clemence from the National ACM Office providing us with a synopsis of the Maternity Services Review Recommendations (2009), Federal budget 2009 and National Registration July 2010. To recap the main points for me: 120 million dollars over 4 yrs – Midwives to have Medicare & PBS access from 1 November 2010 for care provided in collaborative teams. Commonwealth to support midwives with access to professional indemnity insurance – unfortunately no support for Homebirth – however Private Practice Midwives do get a reprieve for two years, that means no decision until 2012 and we have to find someone to cover us for indemnity insurance.

It was hard to hear (although I know it is true) that as a workforce midwives are a fragmented profession and do not support the ACM, unlike the medical profession that stick together. This is something that needs to change... do you remember the saying “united we stand, divided we fall” this should be our new motto! I didn’t know that the GP’s have 98% membership to the College of GP’s which makes them very a powerful organisation and as Midwives we have less than 30% membership to the college we need a unified front. You might ask what does this mean or why is this important? Well it shows UNITY especially when attending forums and meetings to change policy etc. And this is part of what the Australian College of Midwives (ACM) does for us whether you are a member or not. I was also surprised to see that Obstetricians make so much money (in one year they can earn 1.5 – 3.5millons dollars) despite having to pay huge indemnity insurance fees and that the safety net assists them in earning or structuring their fees.

If you are currently not a member of the Australian College of Midwives, please join now....
What will be good about having Medicare provider numbers for midwives is that it will raise the profile of Midwifery as a profession in its own right, therefore Midwifery and Midwives will be more valued. This creates an air of excitement as midwives began to think about working within different models of care; private practice and Dominos, Group Midwifery Practice etc. It is very exciting times for a midwife.... for me I think it would be excellent to have my own private practice, (with indemnity insurance for homebirth, however currently not an option) provide women with antenatal care in the home, have the choice for visiting rights to hospitals for the birth allowing me to provide the primary care, for the woman then allowing a 6hr discharge home if all was normal..if a hospital birth was required as opposed to a homebirth. Then provide the follow-up postnatal care in the home..... what a great alternative to care.....

National Registration has been talked about ever since I can remember... and I have been around in the health industry for over 25 years. So it is finally happening... part of me will only believe it when it happens in July 2010 – it is long overdue, Nurses and Midwives will be able to register Nationally and work anywhere in Australia....fantastic.. This will also regulate disciplinary issues preventing State hopping for Nurses and Midwives who have competency or disciplinary issues within their current place of work and resign and go interstate to escape the consequences of their actions.

Nurses and Midwives will be able to register on separate registers; for Midwives there will be four categories: Registered Midwives: Restricted Midwife: student midwife: and non practising midwife... this will enable a true reflection of the numbers of midwives within Australia. This will also cause new problems for employees because some midwives who are currently registered as both a nurse and a midwife may not do so after 2010. What nurse / midwives have to remember is the terms of their current employment..... so there current employment contract, which might be to be registered as both a nurse and midwife...........For more information relating to National Registration please visit National Registration and Accreditation Scheme

Read about the first meeting of the new Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and who is on the Board.

Abby Clemence is passionate about what she does, she has the woman & midwife first and foremost in her sights and presented very well, the audience was captivated by all this knowledge and information.... even though at times there was not enough information, this was due to the fact that the questions asked by the audience, the answers have not been clarified by the government.... so watch this space........................................... Abby finished with MidPLUS - Continuing Professional Development ( ) the importance of midwives showing evidence for the care that we provide and our continuing education processes. So please if you have not joined up for MidPLUS do so now and if you have like me.... get it started....for me this blog will be my reflection, I am sure I can claim some points.............again watch this space; Thank you Abby for your passion and your much appreciated hard work.

The afternoons presentations were more clinically based: they were fascinating and inspiring; several spring to mind; the use of “Language in Midwifery” and the “Follow through Experience”. These two presentations were given by a graduate and a student midwife; they were refreshing, passionate and stimulating. It is great to see forward thinking new midwives to carry us forward.

Intermittent Auscultation – this is always an interesting topic, I have always struggled with the idea of being able to hear variability with a sonicad or pinnard and have had numerous discussions about this topic over the years.... I believe that you can determine the baseline and hear accelerations and decelerations however have been sceptical about the ability of hearing variability.... today I got the answer.... Lesley presented very eloquently and provided a formula of how to hear variability....” Listen for a full minute, in 4 sections of 15 seconds. Count the beats for each 15 seconds separately and multiply each by 4. Compare these four averages to produce a variant amount which should be more than 5 beats”.
We all tried it and I was amazed it worked….. You can teach an old dog new tricks…. Thanks Lesley I now have a new skill together with evidence to back it up….

Midwifery Group Practice… an overview of this model of care… key points for me were: make sure you know what the population wants…. Is this a model of care women want… also do you have the staff who wants to pursue this model of care, very interesting presentation.

The last three sessions, Waterbirth Policy, The Role of the Doula – Australian Doulas ( ) and Antenatal education – a menu approach - that means exactly that...“providing a menu approach to choice about antenatal education” “people like stories, like real life experiences” “ a show and tell experience of learning” -kept the audience riveted to their seats...

WA has been a long time waiting for the Waterbirth Policy... I remember coming to WA 6 years ago after working in the UK within the community & Birth Centre as a midwife and was used to women having the choice of waterbirth... to find that it was not an option here... so I am absolutely thrilled that finally this waterbirth policy was launched today at our conference..Yes it is official you can conduct a waterbirth in the hospital.... make sure you read the policy..Clinical guidelines for women requesting immersion in water for pain management during labour and / or birth. I am sure there are many more midwives equally as happy as I am about this outstanding achievement. Improving Maternity Services (

It was good to see that we had approx 100 attendees for this annual conference, consumers, midwives and sponsors. There were midwives from Albany to Geraldton, and Kunnunurra and Broome attending, absolutely fantastic.....The day ended with a well deserved Sundowner 1630 – 1730 includes drinks and nibbles ( sponsored by ACM WA Branch), throughout the day there were many opportunities for networking socialising and lots of photos.(watch this space will be posted over the next couple of days) was an excellent conference, I feel inspired and empowered and am excited about the future for midwifery in WA..... thank you to all those who attended..............see you all at the AGM the week before Xmas.

Life members of the ACM Jill Thompson and Janice Butt.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Nurses & Midwives Awards 2009

The Nurses & Midwives Board of WA presents the Western Australian Nursing & Midwives Excellence Awards 2009 which was held in the Grand Ballroom Burswood Entertainment Complex, on Saturday 29th August.

Pre-dinner drinks were served at 6.30pm, this was an opportunity to mingle and see the who’s who of the Nursing and Midwifery fraternity. This was also the opportune time to notice what everyone was wearing the fashion for the evening, there were some beautiful gowns worn. This is the highlight of the nursing and midwifery calendar where all health professionals, government officials, partners and friends all come to celebrate the excellence of the wonderful nurses and midwives of this state.

The Excellence Awards have 15 categories, The Board received over 170 submissions for nomination, and all applications are of a high standard. The awards are about celebrating, acknowledging commitment and dedication of the nurses and midwives for the excellent health care service provided for the State.

The Master of Ceremonies was Ms Tina Altieri from channel 7, she did a very professional job and managed a laugh or two, Tina made special mention about how important research was to her through her work through telethon.

Adjunct Associate Professor Robyn Collins, Chief Executive Officer of The Board warmly welcomed all the guests and the presentations began. Firstly Ms Elisabeth Bickley – 2008 Nurse / Midwife of the year talked about the benefits of wining and what sort of year she had.

The Graduate Midwife of the Year had three finalists, Annastacia Middleton-Mather, Rebecca Hayes, both from KEMH and Sarah Sheehan from SJOG, the winner was Sarah Sheehan from SJOG hospital.
The winner of Nurse and or Midwife of the year was won by Marie Slater Clinical Nurse Manager of Osborne Park Hospital.

Congratulations to all the Nurses and Midwives of the State of WA. Enjoy some of the photos from the evening:

Opposition Threatens to Obstruct Landmark Health Reform legislation

This is very disappointing news and I hope that it amounts to nothing.
A media release from the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council
report that the federal opposition is not supportive of the new legislation:

The federal opposition has indicated their unwillingness to support landmark legislation which will improve access for the Australian public to quality healthcare and a greater choice of providers by enabling nurse practitioners and eligible midwives to access the Medicare and Pharmaceutical Benefits Schemes. Related Bills will also guarantee access for eligible midwives to professional indemnity through a scheme underwritten by the commonwealth government.

Please contact your local member of Parliament and have your voice heard, urge for the support of these Bills:
The ANMC urges all parties to support the passage of this key health reform legislation through the parliament to demonstrate their commitment to high quality healthcare provision and choice for Australian healthcare consumers............

Minister Roxon has also indicated a commitment to resolving those issues of access to professional indemnity insurance for eligible midwives assisting women who chose to birth at home. These issues have arisen through the revised requirements for national registration and accreditation of health professionals. ANMC will also continue to pursue this dialogue to a positive outcome for consumers of maternity services in the interests of safe, quality healthcare for the Australian community

Come on now is the time to be pro-active and be heard!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

WA ACM Branch presents: "The Magic of Midwifery"

The WA Branch of the ACM presents "The Magic of Midwifery" come and enjoy this study day, network with like minded midwives.

Have your say about your college at the Annual General Meeting. There is also the opportunity to become active within the WA Branch by joining the education committee, a general committee representative or be part of the research team. Join us for a sundowner at the end of the day to network and socialise.

When: Friday 13th November 2009
Where: 45 Plaistowe Mews, City West Function Centre, City West, East Perth
Time: 0800 - 1630
Lots of parking available, all refreshments included.

Come and spend a day finding out
what’s new in the world of midwifery,
be motivated and inspired by Barb
Vernon ACM Executive Officer, hear
updates from the college at our branch
AGM and then finish off the day with
a sundowner catching up with old
friends and colleagues.

• Are you prepared for National Registration?
Barb Vernon & Abby Clemence ACM National

• Midwifery Group Practice - Donna Brooking

• Antenatal Education - “A menu approach” Jill Banks

• Midwifery Language - Annis Middleton - Mather

• Continuity of Care Experience
- Gemma Davies BSc/Mid Student

• The role of the Doula - Australian Doulas

• WA Water Birth Policy - Janice Butt

• Intermittent Auscultation - Lesley Kuliukas

• Annual General Meeting

Click here for link to application form and payment details.

See you all there Pauline

2500 submissions to the Senate! Buy your virtual rally ticket?

Have you bought your Virtual ticket for the Homebirth Rally? I have, its the first time I'm participating in a virtual rally, its all very exciting, I have uploaded my picture and 25 words for my banner, can't wait to see it.

Homebirth Australia Virtual ticket $25.00

This has been taken from the homebirth site, please click on the link and have a look at whats happening with Homebirth.

Thursday August 6 2009
Contact: Justine Caines 0408 210 273

2500+ submissions received. A likely Senate record.
Women tell Minister Roxon their rights matter

"The intersection of two pieces of proposed legislation has the ability to make homebirth midwifery unlawful in Australia. Bills related to Medicare are under review of the Community Affairs Committee. Public hearings will be held today on an issue that is shaping up to be the catalyst of a new wave of feminism."

Now we know that the Bills are likely to be passed, however Homebirth continues to be at the forefront of discussions.

watch this space, buy your virtual rally ticket.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Book now for Sara Wickham - Perth workshop in October

Midwifery Update Workshops with Sara Wickham

Early bird closes 31st August hurry and book!

CAPERS is bringing Sara Wickham to Perth for two one-day workshops 23 - 24 October. The workshops are MidPLUS endorsed, for 6 points a day. We received very positive feedback for Sara's workshops in March.

Sara Wickham will present two 1-day Midwifery Update workshops ‘Midwives, Women, Risk and Decisions’ and ‘Exploring Midwifery Knowledge’ in Perth (23/4 October at the Mercure on Pier St). You can register for one or both days, on-site registration is not available. Early registration closes 31 August. The Midwifery Update workshops are endorsed by the Australian College of Midwives MidPLUS program, and are entitled to 6 points per day.

Click here for the registration form

If you have any thing interesting you wish to add to this blog site please send it to me for posting.

Cheers Pauline

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Exposure draft of Bill B read the submissions!

To understand the new legislation, read this section - this gives a quick guide to general questions asked. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS - ON THE EXPOSURE DRAFT OF THE HEALTH PRACTITIONER REGULATION NATIONAL LAW 2009

Now have a look at some of the submissions for Bill B - there have been many submissions, so much so that I think the government has to rethink the issue of Homebirth and indemnity insurance - very interesting reading!

To mention a few, the AMA submission makes for interesting reading, as well as the ACM, Maternity Collation and the ANF plus many more.

There are many submissions from women that are very supportive and a pleasure to read! I have only managed a third of the submissions to date.

I thought putting the link here would encourage you to have a look what the community is saying about Bill B.

I have randomly selected some submissions for you to just click on the link - then you are on your own.

Toni Appleby
Megan Gardiner
Billy MacDonald
Michelle Rabbidge
Universities Australia
Marion Yates

Keep motivated, for women's choice about birthing options.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Read whats going to happen to our practice as Midwives:

Time to be proactive Midwives:

There are several draft laws (Bills) currently being discussed in Federal Parliament that, if passed, will:

· Give eligible midwives the opportunity to provide care (that is free to women) with Medicare funding.

· Provide eligible midwives with professional indemnity insurance for their work.

· Give midwives who have held professional indemnity insurance 'run-off cover', which means that if a claim arises from a woman that you have provided care for (even if you are have retired or ceased work) then you will be covered.

The College is actively discussing the details of these draft laws with Government, with other political parties and with doctors' groups, nursing groups, and consumer groups. There is currently a Senate Inquiry into these draft laws, and the College has submitted a paper which focuses on the lack of access to professional indemnity insurance for midwives wishing to care for women who plan to birth at home. The College is satisfied with all other aspects of these draft laws, except for this exclusion of homebirth.

The Government has formed a Maternity Services Advisory Group, which will meet for the first time of the 1st August 2009. The Australian College of Midwives has two representatives on this group. This Committee will be responsible for advising Government of the detailed implementation of the Maternity Services reforms.

If you are interested in looking at these Bills then click here -

Inquiry into Health Legislation Amendment (Midwives and Nurse Practitioners) Bill 2009 and two related Bills

NB. The 'Explanatory Notes' accompanying each Bill may give you a better feel for what the Government is proposing, as the Bills themselves use quite complex political jargon.

If you would like to view the College's submission to the Senate Inquiry, please click visit the College website -, then go to College Submissions, Maternity Services Review, Senate Inquiry Submission.

Australian College of Midwives

posted by Pauline C

Monday, July 6, 2009

One midwives view, on Homebirth! what do you think?

This was the conversation I had with a colleague, this is what she had to say about the issues surrounding homebirth. I am urging open discussion what do you think? have your say!

"Went to a talk by Paul Keating this week - interesting. He talked about "BIG picture" thinking, he related it to his governments initiatives around APEC. I felt it related to us and what is happening now.

It seems to me that women (and midwives) need to consider what they want for maternity care in 5 - 10 years time. Nothing happens quickly - in this state (WA) it took us 12 years of lobbying towards a clear "big picture" goal to get a change in legislation's that meant we could provide a direct entry route midwifery course. This didn't come without some pain.

I can't help but think that this is what is needed now - "big picture" thinking. We need to develop a strategy in which homebirth becomes an option that is offered by mainstream maternity services - like in many other countries. If that means a little pain in the short term, particularly around the impact of the indemnity requirements for national registration on private practice - well that may be the short term price we need to pay. As long as we keep our eyes on the "big picture" I feel we can weather the storm.

We need to grasp the medicare provider numbers and lobby STRONGLY - for homebirth and other models of midwifery care to be part of mainstream maternity services. One we have more runs on the board (yes I know the evidence is there already - but we are asking the majority of Australians to make a significant shift in their beliefs) - in terms of outcomes ....... then we launch our insurance offensive.

I think we need to acknowledge that these are interesting political times for women and the midwifery profession - and we need to focus our energies in battles we can win - and then when things are progressing launch our next offensive.
My dream is that my sons and their partners will have greater access to a range of maternity models in which to birth their babies".


Homebirth rally! Canberra September 7th 2009: Virtual and Real!

For all those women and midwives interested in doing something to save homebirth you can attend a rally in Canberra see the details her or go to the Homebirth website (Homebirth Australia) for the Rally in Canberra when is it:

WHEN: Sept 7th @ 11.30am
WHERE: outside Parliament House, Canberra

You can register your commitment to attend on face book

Unfortunately I can not attend, however you can be part of this rally by being a Virtual Rallier what a great idea!

Be a ‘virtual rallier’. For every person who is unable to attend we are organising a virtual rally in conjunction with our ‘live’ rally. Pledge $25, send us a head shot, your name and location and 25 words or less that you want the politicians to hear. We will mount your head shot onto a cardboard pregnant belly with your message, which will be attached to bamboo and will be placed in the ground outside Parliament House. Your pledge will go towards the cost of your cut and our continuing campaign.

see you all at the Homebirth rally, virtual or real.


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Medicare funding for Midwifery Care

Australian College of Midwives Media Release

Access for pregnant women to Medicare funded midwifery care on the way

Less than 6 weeks after the Federal Budget, Heath Minister Nicola Roxon has today introduced the first bills to legislate giving women access to Medicare funding for expert midwifery care.

“This is historic legislation for childbearing women and their families” said Dr Barbara Vernon, Executive Officer of the Australian College of Midwives. “The ACM commends Roxon for her leadership in taking evidence based steps to enhance women’s choices in maternity care.”

“From November next year, women will be able to choose the care of a midwife to provide their pregnancy care in the community, follow the woman into hospital to provide her labour and birth, and follow her home again afterwards to provide the vital professional support in the early weeks of caring for a newborn baby”.

The government’s bills will pave the way for women to receive Medicare rebates for private midwifery care, as well as providing for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme rebates for relevant tests and drugs. One bill will specifically support eligible midwives to access professional indemnity insurance for their care.

“These reforms stand to benefit most Australian women. Once midwives are on the ground, women in rural and remote communities will particularly benefit. Closure of more than 120 rural maternity services in the past 10-15 years has left thousands of women with little or no access to local maternity care and even less access to continuity of midwifery care. Midwives, working collaboratively with GP obstetricians, will help meet women’s need for local care.

“This national legislation recognises for the first time that midwives make a valuable contribution to maternity care in their own right. Evidence confirms that women who receive continuity of care from a known midwife have shorter labours, less need for surgical interventions during birth, reduced rates of admission to special care nursery for their babies, reduced vulnerability to postnatal depression and higher rates of breastfeeding.”

Midwives who provide Medicare funded care will work collaboratively with doctors and other health professionals to ensure the individual needs of each woman and baby are fully met. Midwives will have visiting access to hospitals, and clear referral pathways for women in their care who need obstetric or other health care during their pregnancy, labour and/or postnatal care.

“We’re not expecting midwives to abandon employed positions in large numbers as a result of these policies. There will always be a need for hospital employed midwives to care for women and babies Rather we anticipate a gradual change, as midwives who are eligible to provide continuity of care in the community move to take up this opportunity”

“These reforms will not only give women greater choice than they currently have, they will also give most midwives more choice about how and where they provide care to women, thereby helping to reduce stress and loss of midwives to the maternity care workforce.”

“The only dark cloud in these historic reforms is that they will not provide for women who choose to give birth at home under the care of a midwife. There is mounting international evidence that the option of birth at home is safe for low risk women. ACM is concerned that the rise in unattended homebirths will only get worse unless the government extends its proposed indemnity scheme to ensure healthy low risk women can continue to choose homebirth with competent networked midwives.”

This is progress, lets keep the pressure on!

Monday, June 22, 2009

It is important to have your say about National Registration for Health Professionals:

The aim of this blog is to disseminate this information to as many people as possible and for you to read it and make comment. This is legislation that is going to affect your clinical practice, choices for women and the way in which registration and complaints will be dealt with. So please if you have never been proactive now is the time to start. It is time for public consultation and the submissions close 17 July 2009.

This is how we have a voice, by making submissions. We need to find a way to save Private Practice or independent midwifery, there are some very good practitioners out there that want to work in collaboration with our medical colleagues.

The National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for the Health Professionals:
The Health Practitioner Regulation (Administrative Arrangements) National Law Bill 2008 received Royal Assent on 25 November 2008, giving effect to the new national law.

The council of Australian Governments (COAG) in March 2008 signed an agreement to start the ball rolling creating a single national registration and accreditation system for health professionals. To start with, there are 10 health professions; chiropractors, dentists (including dental hygienists, dental prosthetists and dental therapists); medical practitioners, nurses and midwives, optometrists, osteopaths, pharmacists, physiotherapists, podiatrists, and psychologists.

Now it is time for you to review the next phase of this process The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law 2009 (Bill B)
Exposure draft of Bill B released for consultation - submissions close 17 July 2009

The bodies in the new scheme: Ministerial Council, Advisory Council, National boards, State/Territory boards (committees of national boards), Accreditation authorities, and Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

What does this mean to you as a Midwife – in a nutshell this is what is important:

Independent accreditation will be independent of governments – the final decision on whether the accreditation standards, courses and training programs are approved for the purposes of registration is the responsibility of the national board.

National accreditation standard which exist prior to the commencement of the new scheme are to continue until they are replaced by new standards.

Existing external accrediting bodies such as the Australian Medical Council are expected to continue.

- There will be both general and specialist registers available for the professions including medical and dentistry

- Separate register for nurses and midwives

- Mandatory reporting of registrants – who is placing the public at risk of harm
- Reportable conduct

- Criminal history and identity checks

- Simplified complaints system

- Students registrations – students will now have to register from 2011

- PRACTITIONERS WILL BE REQUIRED TO HAVE SUITABLE PROFESSIONAL INDEMNITY INSURANCE during the period of their registration. (see clauses 69, 73, 75, 80, 83, 101 and 125)

73 Professional indemnity insurance arrangements
(1) Professional indemnity insurance arrangements in force
in relation to
individual are appropriate for the purposes of registering the individual
in a health profession only if:
(a) the arrangements will not expire before the end of the
individual’s period of registration, and
(b) the National Board established for the health profession
considers the type and level of cover provided by the
arrangements are sufficient in the circumstances.
(2) A National Board may accept as evidence that there is, or will be, in
force in relation to an individual professional indemnity insurance
(a) written advice from an insurer or insurance broker that an insurer
has agreed to issue a professional indemnity insurance policy or
that the premium has been received and accepted by the insurer
for the issue of a professional indemnity insurance policy, or

These are some of the major changes, but for Private Practice or independent midwives the death nail is, the requirement to have indemnity insurance with registration. See the above clauses within the Bill. The second most important issue is that of complaints. From my limited understanding at this early stage is the there will still be an office in each state – I will update you all on this section when I have finished reading it.

Please visit the site and make a submission:

go one just hit the hyperlink and have a read.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Seeing red in 2010

Hi all

The registrations for the 2010 Breathing New Life conference co-badged by Australian College of Midwives, RANZCOG and Australian College of Rural and Remote Medicine (ACRRM) have just been released. It is to be held in ALICE APRINGS!!!!!

What a fabulous opportunity to see the Red Centre from July 1-4 next year.

Link for registrations here.

Of course this year's 2009 conference will be in Adelaide from September 22-25 and you can link to that through the national ACM site here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Result of the Monkey Survey: Education Committee

Members and non members were asked to complete the this was a free survey product I tried, like anything free there is a down side and that is I cannot publish the results, this is where you have to pay extra. Therefore I will summarise the results here for you. There were a grand total of 15 respondents, thank you for those wonderful people who took the time to respond.

It was excellent to see that 11 students completed the survey, well done, taking the lead. Everyone should follow your example.

The survey: What midwifery professional development do you require?

1. What is your occupation? There were 11 student midwives and 4 midwives

2. What topic would you like discussed at the next ACM study day 17 October 2009? comments:
if the budget proposals for midwives to be able to provide medicare-rebate services go through the upper house, I'd like a session on setting up a private practice

2. cord clamping
3. midwife-led care for healthy women / marketing midwife-led care in the media
4. Rural maternity services and issues
5. course content: need more clinical based subjects, not airy fairy sh@#$
6. Case study extravaganza
7. "How midwives can bring about change in our workplaces
8. continuity of care issues
9. How to stay politically involved and aware of issues facing abd challenging the midwifery profession
10. Can't be present so N/A

3. Do you maintain a professional portfolio? There were 11 yes and 2 no 2 skipped the question

4. Would you like a session on how to maintain a professional portfolio? 11 yes and 4 no

5. How often do you formally (written) reflect on your clinical practice? Weekly – 5. Monthly – 1. Only for a critical incidence – 5. Other comments, only at yearly review, once or twice per clinical rotation. Weekly as a student.

6. When reflecting which reflective model do you use? Gibbs – 7, Johns – 1. Other 7. Comments, don’t know, curtin portfolio, expressive journal model, simplified Seedhouse’s.

7. Do you want an education session on Reflective Practice? Yes – 8 , no -7.

8. Are you politically savvy? Yes – 6. No – 5. Maybe – 4

9. Would you like a education session on how to become more politically savvy? Yes – 9. No – 5, other 2. Comments having more of a political impact, better networking.

10. What activities or sessions would you like the ACM Education Committee (WA Branch) to offer you as a member?

1 Given the recent budget announcements, the college will need to provide midwives with practical workshops about how to go about setting up a private or group practice.
2. journal CLUB
3. any, but with online options as I am rural
4. Being a student, this would be broad. Perhaps major current issues facing women today, and a follow up on Indigenous maternal health.
5. Unsure at this time
6. Case study format (both presentation and workshop)
7. I’m always finding flyers about different up skilling workshops I can attend over the state but would find it easier if they were collated by an organisation and put in a calender.
8. active birth workshops and breastfeeding talks - how to encourage women to continue
9. I would like further clarification of what is expected to create a great portfolio and the easiest way to accomplish this, how to become more politically involved with practical suggestions on how to do this (lobbying etc), how much formal written reflective practice is required and if this is to be included in our port folio. So far my experience of these issues has been to complete university assessments. I want to ensure that when I am a registered midwife that I follow through with these things in a practical manner and know what is expected from me and my portfolio, when I don't have the support of the university. I would like to stay politically aware and active.
10. Anything is good - am a student.
Breastfeeding with diabetes would be good

Thank you all for completing the survey: I will leave the survey up for any of you who have not completed it, give it a go. The education committee will review these comments and will endeavour to facilitate your requests.

ACM Education committee 2009

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Australian College of Midwives MEDIA RELEASE

great news in the Budget today, lets hope it goes ahead! this is the media release from National.

Australian College of Midwives MEDIA RELEASE

"Mothers and Midwives Budget winners"

"Today is an historic day for childbearing women and their families in Australia," said Associate Professor Hannah Dahlen, National Media Spokespersons for the Australian College of Midwives.

"Not only has the Rudd Government made the welcome commitment to parental leave to better support families with newborn babies, but they have also provided for:

mothers to receive Medicare rebates for midwifery care,
access to PBS for midwives,
national collaborative maternity care guidelines,
increased access at state level to birth centres,
indemnity for midwives
measures to enhance the access of rural and remote women to maternity care as close as possible to their home community.
A national telephone support service for pregnant women and mothers of newborns
"These reforms will together make it much easier for women living anywhere in Australia - from the middle of our largest cities to remote communities - to access continuity of care by a known midwife" Assoc Prof Dahlen said. "They will also be vital in helping to close the gap on disadvantage for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander mothers and babies in partnership with Indigenous people themselves."

Continuity of midwifery care involves a pregnant woman being cared for by a known midwife throughout her pregnancy, labour and birth. It also involves follow up care in the home for up to 6 weeks after the birth of the baby to provide professional support with the all important transition to parenting.

"This is not about substituting doctors with midwives" Assoc. Prof Dahlen said. "Obstetricians will, of course, continue to have a vital role in maternity care. Midwives providing continuity of care collaborate with obstetricians and allied health professionals throughout the episode of care, in response to the individual needs of each woman and her baby."

Research evidence shows a range of benefits when women are cared for by known midwives from early in pregnancy till well after the birth. These include fewer admissions to hospital antenatally, less need for epidurals or for any pain relief, fewer episiotomies, more normal births, reduced need for their baby to be admitted to a special care nursery, more success with breastfeeding, and less vulnerability to postnatal depression or anxiety.

"Health Minister Nicola Roxon is to be commended for listening to Australian women during the recent national review of maternity services and for acting on the evidence that their needs could be better met with greater access to continuity of care by midwives, said Assoc Prof Dahlen

"These reforms pave the way for tens of thousands of women and their families to benefit from continuity of midwifery care while maintaining Australia's solid record of safety for mothers and babies," said Assoc. Professor Dahlen. "The confidence the government has expressed in midwives through these major reforms will be embraced by the profession around Australia."

"Today the government has honoured women and motherhood in this country and recognised that 'the hand that rocks the cradle' does indeed 'rule the world,' and that we as a society need to support women and invest in the future- our children," said Associate Professor Dahlen.

ACM Media Spokesperson, Assoc Professor Hannah Dahlen 0407 643 943

Cheers Pauline

Monday, May 4, 2009

Education Survey, tell us what you want to know?

Hello Midwives and Student Midwives,

Thanks to Sarah Stewart who is currently using this program. I thought I would also try this survey program out. This looks like a great program, we will evaluate it and see how successful it is in getting some feedback from our members and non members. A try before you buy system, I like these sorts of programs.

I am asking you to tell the ACM Education committee what it is you want us to provide for you in terms of your professional on going educational requirements.

Click on this link please: Click Here to take survey

It will only take a few minutes of your time, 10 easy questions, go on, give it a go.

Many thanks for your time. Remember life long learning is a journey, every day brings a new lesson.

Pauline Costins

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Celebrating our Land, our People and our Profession:

Australian College of Midwives WA Branch celebrated IMD on Saturday 2nd May at UWA. There were approximately 60 participants, women, midwives, student midwives, and allied health professionals. Being MC for the day was a challenge, with last minute program changes, and the dreaded IT problems – what a nightmare when technology fails you on these occasions. Just when you think you have it all covered, something else happens; computer not talking to the data projector, then the data projector bulb going, microphone interference and finally the sound not working...............................................................despite these things the day went well. The food was great!

It was a fantastic day, the focus in the morning was on Indigenous Women’s Health and the afternoon included a laughter workshop and a panel discussion on the Maternity Services Review.

To set the scene Justina Smith (Aboriginal Musical Theatre - Noongar Culture) began the session with a beautiful Aboriginal traditional dance, which had everyone captivated.

The welcome to Country was conducted by Kerry-Anne Winmar a Nyungar Yorga Woman. It was all truly fascinating, very spiritual and I was left with goose bumps.

The dynamic Cheryl Hayward(Noongar) presented Aboriginal communities a WA perspective: Points that stuck in my mind were: It was interesting to see that 2.99% of the WA population are Aboriginal and of that 42% live in the Metropolitan area. Also that there are many different Aboriginal languages and Aboriginal people will often read your body language first then listen to your words. Most importantly there is no one single Aboriginal culture. Lastly the word ‘Noongar’ ‘Nyungar’ can be spelt differently.

Unfortunately the Aboriginal elders were unable to share their birth stories with us today due to illness, this was disappointing but these things do happen. On the note of birth stories, it is good to see that the Noongar women are getting together and collating these stories from the elders and the women who have birthed on the country so that they will be able to be passed on and kept for prosperity.

Lesley Nelson presented her Masters on Analytic Epidemiological Study- Indigenous Health then with and Karen Kruit, presented the proposed Maternity Group Practice for Aboriginal Women. They have done some incredible work so watch this space.................. to see how they progress.

The last session before lunch was presented by Dr Heather Hancock 'Making a difference for Aboriginal Women'. Heather reminded us that International Midwives Day is a day of celebration for midwives to celebrate what an important role we play in the process of pregnacy, labour, birth and giving women and families informed choices. "we are indeed so honoured and should feel incredibly humbled".
Heather also highted aspects of the Maternity Report that related to Indigenous women. "changes to support the expansion of collaborative models of care, improved access for rural and Indigenous mothers". She also reviewed health statistics for
Aborginal Women and infant mortality, and discussed issues surrounding,cultrual differences, fear,risk, co-existing issues, choice and strategies. Heather ended with the need for Midwives to be happy in their life & work. An inspiring presentation.

The most important thing on these days is to get the catering correct and I think we did this well. UWA did a great job. The food was excellent; present very well, nice moist orange poppy seed cake and fresh fruit for morning tea served with fresh brewed coffee (that’s very important for me, none of the instant rubbish). For those who don’t like coffee, a good selection of teas were available together the old favourite, water.

After lunch was the presentation by Johnson & Johnson for Midwife of the Year Award WA winner - This was won by
Marion Cavanagh, SJOG Subiaco.
Unfortunatley Marion was unable to attend due to being sick. Congratulations Marion from the ACM WA Branch, well done.

The Laughter workshop was the most unpredictable in terms of knowing whether the participants would stay for it. As it works out the majority of people did stay and appeared to enjoy it. I personally don’t like this sort of thing, but as I liked the rest of the program so it was worth just doing it. I still can’t say it is my cup of tea, but did enjoy throwing the tantrum without any consequences.

Saving the best for last was the Maternity Review Report panel discussion: The main areas covered were National Registration 2010, Indemnity Insurance for Private Midwives, Medicare number, and the need for midwives to come together to achieve better outcomes for women.

Great to see the students attending the day.

It is time now for midwives to become political, pro-active and take our profession forward. We are in an era of change, with the recent Nurses & Midwives Act 2006, the Nurses & Midwives Board change of name and the Maternity Report that recommends that midwives play a more active role.

This is the time for all midwives to spread the word, send letters to our politicians and generally educate the public on the role of the Midwife.

Thank you to everyone that attended and made this day a tremendous success.


"You are a midwife, assisting at someone else's birth. Do good without show or fuss. Remember to be Happy and Joyous" Heather Hancock

Thursday, April 30, 2009

To the editor Bunbury Mail

I am pleased to report that the Southwest Midwives have responded promtly to this article.

It would be most benifical if we as midwives responded to the editor regarding this artile with our point of view: ''

To the editor,

What a biased view on home birthing this article is.

However, have you considered that when problems occur in more rural hospitals such as Margaret River or Manjimup what it must be like to have to be transferred by ambulance to Bunbury with a hospital midwife as your escort? This is no different to an independent midwife needing to transfer a homebirth, if necessary, into hospital. The risks are no different; they are in fact they are same as rural hospital, which of course we know are safe for women with low risk factors during their pregnancy.

Do you really think women who plan a home birth choose to put their lives or the lives or their baby at risk?

These women should be respected and supported with their choices, they don’t go into home birthing blindly. These women are usually well educated and well researched. In WA there is a free home birth service provided by the Community Midwifery Program, which is metropolitan based service and endorsed by the Health Department.

Most of the medical people who state home births are unsafe are because they have been on the receiving end of a private midwife hospital transfer. Do they pass the same judgement calls when a hospital to hospital transfer occurs, I very much doubt it.

However, many more women have an amazing birth at home trouble free.

What the South West needs is BETTER birthing options and choices for women, such as a known Midwife and a Birth Centre, which the last Government offered to provide. However with the change in government this no longer occurring, the South West should have the provision of a Community Midwifery Program so that women in the SW can access the same choices as the women of Perth.

Most people who are scathing of home births have never had the privilege to be present at a home with a woman and her family during labour and birth. I am sad to say they will never get it because they have to open their eyes and their heart to see. They have to believe woman can do this unassisted.

Angela Jordan

Time for Bunbury Midwives to respond!

The Bunbury Mail headline written by Kaitlyn offer reads "More women risking Bunbury homebirths"This headline is just purely 'scaremongering' and in light of the recent release of the governments Maternity Services Review Report, which suggest that women should have improved choice, and expanding the role of the midwife.

I think the article endeavors to present a balanced view, however, it does not at any point have the view of 'the midwife' it does consider the view of the obstetrician.
In light of the Maternity Review I think it is time the media recognised the value of the profession of 'midwifery'(hence we have the Nurses & Midwives Act 2006) and sort the opinion of the Southwest Midwives or the Australian College of Midwives to further balance this article. It is sad to see that an obstetrician is negating the woman's' right of choice and slamming this as 'putting her baby at risk'. This woman has made an intelligent, informed choice of how she would like to birth her baby and this choice should be respected not criticised.

The article goes on to say that
"Between 2003 and 2007 there were 70 homebirths recorded in the South West by the health department, up from 13 performed in 2003 to 20 in 2007.....and that there were no deaths from homebirths in the South West between 2003 and 2007". Did the Dr quote the amount of traumas associated with a birth in the hospital?
So please explain to me why then have these women put their babies at risk? oh that's right
Bunbury's gynaecologist Dr Ron Jewell said mothers were putting themselves and their babies at risk.

With what evidence is the Dr basing this statement on?
“People are looking at their choice rather than safety,” Dr Jewell said. Dr Jewell has not once commented on the services or the ability of the very professional midwives of the Southwest, where is his attempt to be collaborative with his colleagues?
All midwives are trained to be able to recognise the abnormal and deal with any emergency that may arise.

Thank goodness the the trusted consumer, Bunbury mother Megan Pelusey disagrees.

Mrs Pelusey gave birth to her first child Georgia at home in 2006 and with baby number two on the way her family is preparing for another homebirth with the help of a trusted midwife, her husband Marcus and Georgia, 2.“I’m a private person and it’s a nice way to have it in your home and this time my two year old will see it all,” Mrs Pelusey said.

Mrs Pelusey said she felt women with low risk of complications could have safe homebirths when supported by a midwife with the right equipment.
“I had continuity of care with my midwife, I had regular visits throughout the whole pregnancy, (the midwife was there) during the birth and I had after birth care and you still see a doctor anyway,” Mrs Pelusey said.
She said she was not nervous about complications.
“The midwife has all the right equipment like oxygen if it is needed and we are not very far from the hospital if something happens.”

I must say I am sadden by this article, the headline, could have been a more positive one, 'Homebirths successful in the Southwest', 'More women choose midwifery led care in the Southwest' - but I guess it just may not have the same impact.

I urge the media to give midwives a fair go! find out what it is we do? don't just take the word of an obstetrician, this is about collaborative work, we can and do work together, let midwives provide continuity of care, give women the choices they want!, it really is not to much to ask for.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

International Midwives Day Celebration on Saturday 2nd May 09

The Australian College of Midwives WA Branch invite you to attend our celebrations at UWA:


International Midwives Day
Saturday 2nd May 2009

“Celebrating our Land our People and our Profession”

This promises to be a day to remember - Inspiring presentations - A good laugh
Great food
Johnson & Johnson Midwife of the Year Award presentation
Spot prizes and raffle

Maternal and perinatal outcomes for Aboriginal women are grim. Can we truly make a difference for Aboriginal women – Heather Hancock believes we can!

Nyoongar women share their amazing stories of birth in their communities

After lunch it’s Joyologist Bronwyn Williams – a guaranteed laugh and life changing workshop

The Maternity Services Review Paper…..its time for us to find a voice and a way forward …come and debate the issues with our presenters, leading health professionals including Graeme Boardley, Robyn Collins, Janice Butt, Wendy Candy and consumer Debbie Slater.

For Registration Brochure click here

PLEASE consider coming along and bring a friend too!

Aboriginal spirituality and the land

A powerful explanation of the spiritual connection of Indigenous people to the land can be found in a publication of the now abolished ATSIC [13]:

We don't own the land, the land owns us. The land is my mother, my mother is the land. Land is the starting point to where it all began. It's like picking up a piece of dirt and saying this is where I started and this is where I'll go. The land is our food, our culture, our spirit and identity.
—S. Knight [13]

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

SBS insight program 'birth'

Hi all,

This was the program on insight last night, it was about birth, what choices do women have and the release of the materntiy report by the Minister of Health.
Most of the women in our audience are pregnant, some very pregnant. So who knows, anything could happen. We are here to talk about birth, in particular why we have such a high rate of Caesarean sections in Australia. One in three babies is now born by C section, a 50% increase in just ten years. So why?

Are women becoming too posh to push or are some doctors too quick to give Caesareans? Tonight Insight is going to talk about that - about what women want and whether the way we deliver babies needs to change.

if you have not watched insight last night, please watch out for the repeat show this week - Friday I think. It was a great show, featuring Jenny Gamble, Hannah Dahlen, Karen Guilliland, GP's, obstetricians, pregnant women, women and Nicola Roxon. The show is well worth watching or you can read the transcripts just follow this link.
Lets start a debate, what do you think?

Cheers Pauline

Friday, January 30, 2009

The ACM WA Branch Executive Committee 2009

Tracy Martin - President
Abbey Rodda - Vice President
Laura Robertson - Secretary
Janice Butt - MESAC
Tracey Gilchrist - Treasurer
Andrea Loftus - Education Officer
Debbie Slater - Consumer Representative
Karen Kruit - Community Midwifery Program
Lesley Nelson - Indigenous Representative
Jill Banks - Fund Raising and Publicity
Jenny Owen - National Board Member

GaeTana (Mel) Mule - BSc Midwifery Student
Catherine Ranford - BSc Midwifery Student

Nichola Goodger - Curtin University Student
Anita Symonds - Curtin University Student

Edith Cowan University Students to be nominated

Enquires email: Louise Allen

Watch this space for updated information relating to contact details for the WA Branch - work in progress.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Welcome to the WA Branch of the Australian College of Midwives (ACM) Blog

The aim of this blog is to welcome all our members and anyone who wishes to read this blog. This blog adds another dimension of communication for the members of the West Australian ACM.

The ACM team will endeavor to keep you up to date with what’s happening in our State & the country relating to midwifery matters. Anyone is welcome to comment, on any subject or topic, all comments will be moderated. People will be required to put their names to comments as this allows for greater accountability and controls spam.
Remember the comments you make are for the World Wide Web, so review your article or writing before hitting the enter key!

It is important to remember the ANMC Code of Conduct for Midwives 2008 and our professional standing when commenting on this blog.

All topics are welcome so lets have some fun communicating with each other.

For membership enquires please go to the College website: the Australian College of Midwives ACT

Now meet some of the WA team: Above Pauline Costins Education Committee & Jennie Wood NMBWA ACM Representative
Tracey Martin: President, and Jenny Owen: National Representative for WA

Janice Butt, Midwifery Education and Standards, & Jill Banks, Publicity and Fundraising.

Published by Pauline