The Senate today passed a motion calling for immediate action on the obstacles facing privately practicing midwives in Australia.
"The government set aside $120 million in 2010 for midwives in private practice to access Medicare and the PBS, but hardly any have been able to do so," said Dr Richard Di Natale, the Greens Spokesperson on Health. "Because they can't get visiting access rights, they can't be by their patients if they get admitted to public hospitals."
The Senate motion called upon the government to work with states to resolve visiting access issues and to clear any other roadblocks preventing privately practicing midwives accessing Medicare and the PBS.
"This situation has to change. Mothers want and expect continuity of care, not to have to say goodbye to their chosen midwife at the hospital doors. The Senate has now recognised the issue and it is now up to the states to deliver."
Australian Greens Senator and spokesperson for women Lee Rhiannon said:
"Australia is still well behind when it comes to midwifery compared with other nations such as Norway.
"Roadblocks frustrating women's right to choose a range of birthing arrangements needs clearing.
"Midwives are known to provide extremely safe and high quality care, facilitating continuity over the pregnancy, birthing and post natal periods.
"It is time governments across Australia joined together to enable midwives to properly do their work."