Sunday, April 18, 2010

Maternity Services Reforms: indemnity insurance - what is it going to cost?

Maternity Services Reforms
More choice for women – indemnity insurance for midwives
Indemnity insurance - protection for midwives

As you are all aware from July 1st 2010 National Registration starts: this means that Privately-practising, eligible midwives will be able to access Australian Government supported professional indemnity insurance from 1 July 2010. The Dept of Health and Aging has released this document; Maternity Services Reforms
More choice for women – indemnity insurance for midwives;

I am not so sure about the offer......The premium for a midwife in full time practice is expected to be around $7,500 per year, that is $144.23 per week. However this insurance will not cover the planned delivery of babies in the home – for which there is a two year exemption from the requirement under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme for midwives to hold professional indemnity insurance. It should be noted that the exemption relates only to the actual homebirth.

I wonder how many hoops midwives have to jump through to be an eligible midwife? I would of thought that after completing the required course to become a midwife you would be qualified to work as a midwife..... but Alas this is not the case in Australia it seems that we have to do even more to obtain the new reforms proposed....they say that....Pregnant women and new mothers will have more choice in maternity care because the clients of eligible midwives with professional indemnity insurance will be able to access services subsidised by the Government through the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS) and Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS).

I feel that women will have less choice because there will not be any 'eligible midwives', and I suppose that will suit the AMA.....what happened to fair play? and equal opportunities? Where is the ethics in all of this?.... it seems that ethical principles have gone out the window....

I ask at what price is this privilege coming and by privilege I mean MBS & PBS..... we are introducing another word, phrase, type, description of a midwife... the 'eligible midwife' who is currently the private practicing midwife or independent midwife.... how many of the current private practice midwives will be able to jump through the hoops...and we do not yet know what those hoops are???? if this offer of indemnity insurance is anything to go by... I suspect we are in trouble......

Definition of a Midwife
A midwife is a person who, having been regularly admitted to a midwifery educational programme, duly recognised in the country in which it is located, has successfully completed the prescribed course of studies in midwifery and has acquired the requisite qualifications to be registered and/or legally licensed to practise midwifery.
The midwife is recognised as a responsible and accountable professional who works in
partnership with women to give the necessary support, care and advice during pregnancy,labour and the postpartum period, to conduct births on the midwife’s own responsibility and to provide care for the newborn and the infant. This care includes preventative measures, the promotion of normal birth, the detection of complications in mother and child, the accessing of medical care or other appropriate assistance and the carrying out of emergency measures
The midwife has an important task in health counselling and education, not only for the woman, but also within the family and the community. This work should involve antenatal education and preparation for parenthood and may extend to women’s health, sexual or reproductive health and child care.
A midwife may practise in any setting including the home, community, hospitals, clinics or health units.

Reference of definition: International Confederation of Midwives


  1. According to the government document you have to be a medicare eligible midwife BEFORE you can get insurance.

  2. Thanks Lisa for your comment, nice to see you drop by.... yes you have to be an eligible midwife will be able to access Australian Government supported professional indemnity insurance from 1 July 2010.
    I did not think the difinition of 'eligible' was out we do not know what that looks like....however I would think that if you are going to get the insurance you would get a Medicare number, unless you are going to practice with out accessing Medicare....I am not sure I understand the benifit of that....
    I am sure the ACM will be offering a cheaper insurance policy option.... I will follow up on this....
    cheers Pauline

  3. Hi Pauline, I am at a roadblock. I am starting out in private practice,I have been working in the community ( supported by a couple of wonderful independent midwives) since january. My aim was to take between 10 and 12 women a year max. I am not going to be " an eligible midwife" as it stands at the moment as I have been a midwife for coming up to one year. I don't know what to do. I have had heaps of enquires from women who I would love to support but there is now way I could afford the $7500 PII even if I was "eligilble". Is there any news on the ACM insurance option.
    Kind regards,
    Clare Davison,

  4. Hi Clare,

    Hold on tight and wait until all is revealed... yes the ACM insurance is going to be much cheaper...I will be doing a blog very soon... very affordable...however I suspect that insurance is going to be linked to eligiblity... I will email you...also you would be best placed to start doing things like midPLUS and MPR if you have not already started.... so for now lets just wait and cross that bridge... don't forget there is a two year exemption for homebirth midwives.....remember clearly document every detail....and use a collaborative framework...not teaching you to suck eggs...just being supportive... Cheers Pauline

  5. pauline, sorry my email address is


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