Three years ago women should have had the ability to choose a private midwife to care for her in pregnancy, birth in hospital, and for 6 weeks after birth, with access to Medicare Rebates. Victorian public hospitals have still not opened their doors to private midwives, meaning women have to pay out of pocket for this option that should be a choice for everyone!
In 2010 TheGovernment announced Maternity Reforms that were established to improve Maternity Care- one aspect of this was improving women’s ability to access to midwifery care. Women in Victoria are currently still not able to access labour and birth item numbers 82120 and 82125 (which can attract rebates of over $1000) to have their chosen private midwife attend them as their primary carer in a public hospital. This means that women have to pay out of pocket costs of around $2000, which is unaffordable for many. Hospitals have had a framework from The Victorian Government available for over a year; however no hospital has yet implemented the framework. Research has shown many times over that continuity of midwifery care is a safe, cost effective model of care that has positive emotional and physical health outcomes for the mother, baby and family. The cost benefit for the hospitals and for the health system has proven extremely beneficial from the model that has been working in Queensland for three years. It is time the women of Victoria are really given choice.
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