Timeline of Maternity reform in Australia:
NMAP- 2001 (National Maternity Action Plan)
Federal Senate Inquiry into Maternity Services (2008)
Rebirthing- 2009 (review of services in QLD)
NMSP- 2010-2015 (National Maternity Services Plan)
Federal Senate Inquiry into Stillbirth (2018) available: https://www1.health.gov.au/internet/main/publishing.nsf/Content/pacd-pdb-maternity
Inquiry into Perinatal Services (Victoria)- 2018 available here: https://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/422-fcdc/inquiry-into-perinatal-services
Inquiry into support for new parents and babies- (NSW) 2018 here:
Inquiry into maternity services- (ACT)- 2019 here:
National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services - current
The 2010-2015 National Maternity Services Plan (the Plan), developed under Commonwealth leadership, concluded on 30 June 2016. The Plan was endorsed by State, Territory and Commonwealth governments for the five year period 2010-2015.
In September 2017 the Australian Health Ministers Advisory Council (AHMAC) agreed to start a new process to develop a National Strategic Approach to Maternity Services (NSAMS).
The expected outcome for the NSAMS project is a document to guide national maternity services policy. NSAMS will reflect the available evidence to support best practice care in maternity services and the delivery of quality and safe care to the Australian community.
As a project under AHMAC there is a requirement to have a jurisdictional advisory group. This is made up of representatives from each of the jurisdictions and is known as the Project Reference Group (PRG).
The PRG is supported by an Advisory Group (AG) which is constituted of a cross section of both consumers and health professionals.
Listen to an insight into the history of birth and what everyone can do to help improve maternity care:
Bruce Teakle is one of Australia's most experienced consumer representatives and advocates:
A brief history of policy development in Maternity Care:
In 2009 the Australian government has announced a major program of reform with the move to primary maternity care. Primary maternity services are based on the understanding that 85% of pregnant women are capable of giving birth safely with minimal intervention [1–4]. It is argued the removal of uncomplicated childbirth from routine obstetric influence will reduce the numbers of women receiving expensive obstetric care and interventions in the absence of clinical need . The reforms are expected to provide the right balance between primary level care and access to appropriate levels of medical expertise as clinically required . In announcing the reforms the government has responded to a decade of pressure from numerous reports, commissions and inquiries recommending wide scale change in how maternity care is to be delivered in Australia [7–16]. More here: https://bmcpregnancychildbirth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1471-2393-11-53
Some insight here:
This paper was published in Birth Issues 2006; 15(1):11-1, Hastie, C. (2006).
It is known that childbearing women have fewer interventions and better outcomes where there
is a strong and autonomous midwifery profession (Wagner, 1995.). Current strategies towards
autonomy and self-regulation through the increased numbers of midwifery-led units being
established in NSW are a positive sign. We also know that politics and counter arguments from
medically oriented colleagues will not go away. Only by recognising the long and deep history
of struggle, resistance an re-emergence will midwives be able to continue to develop their
scope of practice, recognising that medical and nursing hostility is cultural and historical, not
personal. With a broad understanding of the political and historical threads in our current
practice climate, midwives can continue to seek and establish a co-operative way of working
with childbearing women and their families and medical colleagues. It is only by
understanding the background to the negativity that we can wholeheartedly, fearlessly and with
good humour, encourage our medically oriented colleagues to join us in co-operative and
sensible maternity care. There are medical practitioners who support women’s choices. Mutual
respect with intelligent communication between women, midwives and medical practitioners is
the only way to ensure the best care of each particular woman and her individual
circumstances. Understanding what has gone before will give us the strength, tenacity.
In recent years, we have been very vocal politically about women having access to continuity of midwifery carer, public hospital data and consumer satisfaction data and a move towards funding reform. We're active with the media, with MPs- Federally, and state MPs, along with pushing for more continuity of midwifery carer access at local levels